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General News of Saturday, 1 August 2015


TV licence: Tarzan files for interlocutory injunction

Dr Charles Wereko Brobby has moved his resolve to stop the collection of TV licence a notch higher by applying for an interlocutory injunction on the process.

His lawyer, Egbert Faibille confirmed to Francis Abban on Top Story Friday that his client filed the application Friday afternoon to stop the implementation of the law which starts tomorrow.

The application is set for hearing on August 10, he said.

Dr. Wereko Brobbey only yesterday filed a writ in court challenging the formula that would be used in sharing revenues from the TV licence. He is, amongst others things, seeking to restrain the state broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, from collecting the fees starting August 1.

Friday's application for interlocutory injunction was filed in view of the response of the state broadcaster to the existing writ, Egbert Faibille Jnr. explained.

The Director General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Major (rtd) Albert Don Chebe served notice on Joy FM that despite the writ, there is no motion stopping them from carrying out their legal mandate to collect the TV license fees starting from tomorrow.

He asked Ghanaians to prepare to pay 36 cedis as their TV license fee.

But Mr. Faibille has insisted, “As far as we are concerned, any attempt to collect TV licence ...when the court is scheduled to determine the application is contempt of court.”

He expressed surprise that GBC is refusing to cooperate with his client. Ironically, he said, his client ought to be seen as fighting for the state broadcaster.

According to the existing laws - LI 226, NRCD 89 as well as NLCD 226 – only GBC has the mandate to collect and benefit from the revenues, he pointed out.
He maintained that until the law on sharing TV licence revenue is amended, only GBC should be the beneficiary.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Braimah has cautioned GBC against going ahead with the collection of the TV licence in the face of the court case.

He also believes more sensitization has to be done about the reintroduction of the TV licence. This will cure any perception that the fee is being imposed on Ghanaians in a “create, loot and share” manner.

He insists the implementation of TV licencing would be problematic, noting discussions on it have been centered on the industry players with the taxpayers knowing very little about the new tax regime.

He dreaded the implication of the fees for about 7 million Ghanaians who live on less than a dollar a day.

If the right things are not done, the implementation would “ultimately be a failure”, Sulemana Braimah warned.

Out of the amount to be collected, GBC will take the largest share of 72%, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) will take 15%, the Media Development Fund will take 4%, the National Media Commission will take 4%, Film will take 2% and for managing the collection, GBC will take an extra 2% which will bring their amount to 75%.

But Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa is of the view that aside the GBC, GIBA should not benefit from the revenues. “That should not happen,” he stressed.

Independent broadcasters he said, can benefit from the fee if they will allocate about 10 to 30 percent of their airtime to public service.

He also strongly contested the idea of allotting part of the money to go to the Media Development Fund which he said has been shrouded in secrecy.