A Constitutional Lawyer, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare, popularly known as Kwaku Azar, has criticized the National Media Commission for threatening to shut down the operations of Onua TV/FM. On Tuesday 14 November, 2023, the National Media Commission (NMC) wrote to Media General, owners of Onua TV/FM, complaining of a broadcast simultaneously carried by the two media outlets.
In the same letter, the NMC imposed sanctions on the two stations without asking for their side of the story. Subsequently, the NMC wrote to the Advertisers Association of Ghana, threatening to suspend the frequency authorization of Onua TV/FM.
Commenting on the issue on Facebook on November 29, 2023, Prof. Asare, who is also a fellow at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana, wrote, “NMC- Your job is to protect the media from being shut down, not to shut them down.” Earlier, the Board of Directors of Onua TV/FM, said that it suspects the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission wants to interfere in the editorial independence of TV and radio stations owned by the conglomerate.
The Board said it considers this as a major threat to the media in Ghana and must be resisted. “We suspect that his real intention is to interfere with the editorial independence of all the stations in the Media General Group. This, we believe, is a major threat to the media in Ghana and must not be allowed to happen,” the Board Chairman, Mr. Kojo Yankah wrote in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Commission dated 29th November 2023.
The Board of Onua TV/FM stressed that “The NMC was established by the Constitution “to promote and ensure the freedom and independence of the media for mass communication and information” and we will take all steps necessary to ensure that the NMC is not rather used to trample on media independence for political or any other purposes.”
The letter by the Board of Onua TV/FM sought to complain to the Chairman of the NMC Board, about a letter written by the Executive Secretary to the Advertisers Association of Ghana.
“The attention of the Board of Media General Ghana (Ltd) has been drawn to a letter from the Executive Secretary of NMC dated 28th November 2023 to the Advertisers Association of Ghana, AAG, in which the NMC Executive Secretary has taken a rather unprecedented step to notify them that any further steps that they are taking to advertise on Onua TV and Onua FM are done at their own risk,” a part of the letter read.
According to the Onua TV/FM Board, it “takes a serious view of this matter. This illegal action follows other illegal steps taken by the NMC which we had responded to earlier. We addressed a copy of our letter dated 27th November 2023 to you and have attached another copy to this letter for ease of reference.”
“The Media General Board takes serious exception to the actions and posture of the Executive Secretary and would ask the NMC to take immediate steps to regularize all the missteps of the Executive Secretary in targeting Onua TV and Onua FM for purposes known to him,” the Board urged.