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General News of Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Source: citifmonline.com

GBC Board halts prosecution over TV license fees

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation [GBC], has been directed by its Governing Board not to pursue any prosecute people who may default on the non-payment of TV license fees.

Responding to the outcry and criticism that met the renewed efforts of the State Broadcaster to ensure compliance with the law, the GBC Board assured the public that no prosecutions will occur.

Concerns over the TV license regime followed the Chief Justice’s setting up of special TV license courts across the country to prosecute people who refuse to pay the mandatory TV license fees in line with the TV licensing Act. Domestic TV users are to pay between GHc36 and GHc60 for one or more TV sets in a household, while TV set repairers and sales outlets are to pay an annual sum of between GHc60 to GHc240.

Following the setting up of the special court, it was expected that defaulting TV owners or operators will be prosecuted per Section 1(a) of the TV licensing Act 1966 (NLCD 89) with defaulters facing a fine or a prison term not exceeding one year.

But a statement from the Board said, “following an evaluation of the situation has instructed the management of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) not to pursue any activity or set of processes, leading to the prosecution of any individual for the non-payment of the Television license fee.”

“The Governing Board is assuring the general public not to entertain any fear for any such possible prosecutions,” the statement added.

The board also urged the National Media Commission (NMC) to explore a more sustainable funding module for the GBC.

“With Respect to the future of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, the Board recommends that the National Media Commission (NMC) drives the process of engaging critical stakeholders to resolve the status of GBC, and find a more enduring funding module, that would enable it to discharge its constitutional mandate.”