The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is calling on the National Communications Authority (NCA) to disclose the names of individuals to whom frequencies are allocated for broadcasting purposes.
As a member of the Coalition for Transparency of the Airwaves (COTA) in Ghana, the MFWA believes that transparency in the allocation of frequencies is critical in the quest for promoting professionalism in the media.
At several forums and media training programmes, journalists and managers have consistently indicated the need to engage directly with owners on issues relating to professional standards.
Unfortunately, the NCA only publishes names of companies assigned the frequencies without including the names of the owners or company directors.
Given the challenges of media professionalism in the country and the need to engage directly with owners, many of whom are active in partisan politics, it has become important for the NCA to disclose the names of those who own media organisations particularly radio stations.
Apart from making it possible to engage directly with owners on questions of professionalism, such disclosure will also help prevent speculations around ownership of media houses.
According to the NCA as at the end of 2015, 412 FM radio broadcasting stations had been authorised out of which 313 stations were operational. Between 2008 and end of 2015, the number of authorised radio stations has increased from 190 to 412. Within the same period the number of stations that are operational has increased from 146 to 313.
Given the fast pace of the growth of the radio broadcast industry which is positive for pluralism, free expression and access to information, it is at the same time crucial to ensure that issuance and management of radio frequencies is done in a transparent manner and in a way that promotes national development.