About 90% out of the 4.6 million Ghanaian households Tv owners who are hooked onto the Free-To-Air(FTA) platform of which are considered as ‘extremely poor and vulnerable’ will soon be made to pay for content they watch on Tv according to a new draft policy document to be implemented by the Ministry of Communication of Ghana.

By the purported decision of the ministry, the ministry of communication is looking to encrypt FTA services in the country.

President of the Ghana Independence Broadcasters Association, Andrew Danso-Aninkora in a forum organized by GIBA to discuss Digital Migration and the Future of Free-To-Air Television in Ghana, said the decision by the Ministry of communication is a means to deny individuals their right to information.

He said “the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and other key broadcast stakeholders have expressed discomfort about the draft policy on many grounds among others, that the MoC’s move to encrypt free-to-air television is an affront to media independence and freedom and a denial of the individual’s right to information”

Mr. Danso-Aninkora revealed that the association’s effort over the years to seek a universally accepted platform was only met with ‘ambitions covertly overladen with inexplicable intentions.’

He further stated that, regardless of the associations’ opposition, “the MoC has taken steps towards implementation of the said policy even though it remains a draft”

Another related issue is the position of the MoC that the governing board and CEO of the company to be formed to manage the monopolistic DTT platform is to be appointed by the President of Ghana without recourse to the mandate of the National Media Commission as prescribed by the constitution of Ghana.

There are two types of television broadcast services in Ghana, Pay TV, and Free-To-Air service. According to statistics, 99% of the Ghanaian tv population exclusively rely on the FTA in a combination of analog, digital and satellite broadcasting to access public information and also make their views heard.

According to Mr. Danso-Aninkora, the association’s view is for the ministry of communication to allow FTA TV to remain as free as classified and authorized by the NCA.

By: Ofori