Of Ghana’s Digital Space And Matters Arising

CURRENTLY, there is a bad blood between the Ministry of Communications and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA).

THE ongoing rumpus between these two bodies follow an accusation levelled against the Communications Ministry by the GIBA to the effect that the former has created an uneven playing field within Ghana’s digital terrestrial space.

THAT claim by GIBA has given an undue advantage to Chinese company StarTimes, at the detriment of local broadcasters.  In the wake of the ensuing rumpus, the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has come out to debunk GIBA’s allegation and cleared the air on the matter.

A statement signed by the sector minister over the weekend made it clear that Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform would be managed as a commercial entity incorporated as the Central Digital Transmission Company Limited (CDTCL) and governed by a board with representatives from GBC, GIBA and other industry and content producers.

THE communications ministry’s statement goes on to state that the country’s digital space has not been handed over to StarTimes as that matter has gained currency over the last few days.

IT is refreshing that the communications ministry has cleared the air on the matter.  This, Today believes, should set minds at ease!

HOWEVER, the paper wants to add its voice to the call by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), urging the communications ministry to be open in its rolling out of the country’s digital migration programme.

ACCORDING to the Executive Director of the MFWA, Suleiman Braimah, the ministry’s engagement with relevant players in the communications space has not been encouraging.

HE raised the issue of an unequal playing field by picking on the central government for granting tax incentives to StarTimes.

“WE have a situation where a tax waiver is granted to a company that is apparently a competitor operating in the country’s media space. They operate Max TV which is a cable TV,” he said.

FROM the above, we on Today think that it will not be right if, indeed, the central government is giving undue advantage to a competitor and more especially when such a competitor is a foreigner and is competing with our local entities.

IN our view we think that the same package and even more should be extended to Ghanaians who are players in the digital space.  For what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander!

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