Why Forcing Ghanaians to Pay TV Licence?


Accra, Ghana, January 4, 2018//-The recent setting up of special courts by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, upon the by the Director-General (D-G) of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) to prosecute TV Defaulters, has angered Ghanaians.

To this end, some Ghanaians who spoke to African Eye Report have asked the National Media Commission (NMC) who is the employer of D-G of GBC,  Dr Kwame Ntow Akuffo-Anoff to sack him.

The courts, as approved by Justice Akuffo, will be located in all the 10 regions and will sit every Thursday with effect from 4 January 2018 to prosecute persons who fail to pay their TV licence.
But the the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), a leading pressure group, has questioned the rationale behind the payment.

The group in a press release expressed surprise why Ghana is bent on collecting the fees when advanced countries are abolishing it.

“The UK model, which the Ghanaian system is modeled after, is completely different,” it argued.

In an era where countries across the world are either abolishing the TV license fees in countries like Finland and Iceland or reducing it considerably (Poland, Germany) because of a high evasion rate.

Others such as China, Uganda, Canada, India, Australia, USA, Brazil and Russia are countries with no TV license fees. It is interesting to know that Ghana would rather criminalize her citizens over a system that is being abandoned all over the world.

The UK model, which the Ghanaian system is modeled after, is completely different. This is because, unlike the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation which generates income from commercial activities like advertisements and announcements and also receives yearly subvention from government, the local public broadcaster in the UK doesn’t have advertising or subscription as part of its funding mix.

AFAG’s position on the compulsory TV license remains unchanged. We continue to maintain that Ghanaians will not be bullied into paying this fee. The world is at a stage where the speed of broadband is going up, and ownership of devices connected to the internet has increased, with people at home possibly watching live TV on devices other than the TV, would they also be billed with a license fee? we hope not. In the unlikely event, any attempt to charge users on mobile phone for using their devices to watch TV will also be resisted.

This TV license policy has been on the drawing board since three years ago. AFAG opposed attempts to introduce it in 2015. we will oppose it on any day and indeed not now.

It is expected that revenue will be shared in percentage terms among Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), 72%, Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association (GIBA), 15%, National Media Commission (NMC), 4%, Media Development Fund, 4%, Films Fund, 2% and Management of TV Licence Fee (GBC), 3%. Obviously, the state broadcaster is the target.

AFAG however propose that, the ministry of information holds a stakeholder forum involving Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), National Media Commission (NMC), the Independent broadcasters association including CSOs  and the ministry of finance to draw a roadmap on how to charge the consolidated  fund  for media development. These funds may be applied to sponsor or support media (television/radio/print/electronic) houses whose specific program promotes Ghanaian values or target minority groups development. It’s a matter of priority!

Be it as it may, we expect government to explore ways of resourcing the state broadcaster either wholly by the state as stated earlier or through all forms of public-private partnerships as we move GBC to a very independent status. Government may also consider a private management of GBC.

GBC is endowed with land mass, infrastructure, human resources, logistics and wide coverage of its network. why is GBC struggling financially? Mr President if the Daily Graphic among its competitors remains autonomous and self-funding, then GBC can copy same in the midst of competition. Otherwise, we blame its poor state on management and the lack of clarity for resource allocation from the state or through an appropriate funding mix involving the private sector.

AFAG is totally opposed to a TV license regime from an obsolete Television licensing ACT 1966 (NLCD).

African Eye Report

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