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Why Are Ghanaians Not Angry at the National Communications Authority?


I don’t know about you, but I am still peeved, indeed angry by last week’s action of the National Communications Authority to throttle slected radio stations in the country.

Its decision to revoke the licenses of more than a hundred radio outlets while imposing huge fines on others, is unprecedented in its scope and reach, and ultimately threatens our  nascent democracy.

Clamping down on “renegade” radio stations is a textbook example of a governmental agency overstepping its mandated authority. In fact, this sort of official behavior is synonymous with authoritarian regimes and not identifiable with a country that brags incessantly of its democratic bona fides.

We should expect such egregious stumping on free speech in neighboring Togo where one family has ruled the country with an iron fist for the last forty years.

The shock waves that the action of the Authority has sent throughout the media industry would reverberate for years to come. Not surprisingly, the Authority is now threatening to bring the hammer down on television stations found to be non compliant with regulations.

Be that as it may when the Authority is finally done with its pathetic witch hunt, the Ghanaian media landscape will be thoroughly decimated if not entirely destroyed, except of course, for those sycophantic media houses and organizations who act as shills for the NPP and are echo chambers for the party.

Jobs in the industry will take a tumble as entrepreneurs with interest in broadcast journalism, radio and television look elsewhere to invest their monies and energy.

And, the loser, ultimately, will be ordinary Ghanaians who will be deprived of two fundamentally important things; jobs and multiple sources of information that help them make informed decisions on a host of issues that affect their lives.

What shocks me about the whole NCA affair is the absence of a public uproar. There hasn’t been a discernible anger towards the National Communications Authority, and by extension the NPP government.

And the little that we have seen of any anger at all has come, predictably from the regular corner— the minority NDC in parliament.

There is no argument with the assertion that if the shoe was on the other foot, you would have heard the same vociferous voices that shouted themselves hoarse during the Mahama administration, jumping into the fray between the Authority and the radio stations in question.

I guess political expediency, apparently has rendered the likes of Occupy Ghana and others impotently silent on such an important issue. And ordinary Ghanaians, as usual, are taking the unfolding drama in their stride, being nonchalant, and minding their business. Nothing wrong with that.

However, what is not being realized here is that the NCA is slowly but surely consolidating power for the ruling NPP. With opposition voices silenced on the airwaves, the government is just going to ram down its harsh economic and financial policies down the throats of Ghanaians without the hard questions being asked.

And to hear the despicable the minister of communications, Ms.Ursula Owusu lamely defend the action of the NCA one would think she has just come in from the cold and does not know zilch about free speech. Her defense is enough to make you want to throw up your hands in the air and wonder out aloud what she was thinking.

It is emerging with each passing day that the NPP is slowly but surely turning our beloved Ghana into an illiberal space that stifles free speech. And that is the honest truth.

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