Ghana government denies imposing internet shutdown ahead of polls

Joe Anokye
Joe Anokye

The government of Ghana has rubbished claims it will impose an internet shutdown aimed at disrupting media broadcast ahead of the country’s crucial elections.

This follows claims reported to have been made by opposition leader John Mahama, accusing the National Communications Authority(NCA) of schemed attempts to interfere with broadcasting and internet connectivity.

But the regulating body has described the comments made by Mr Mahama as “misleading” amid fears such actions could cause fear and panic going into the polls on December 7.

In a two-page statement issued on Monday, the NCA advised Ghanaians to “disregard the remarks as completely unfounded”.

The NCA also responded to a separate media publication in which a former appointee in the Mahama administration took on the regulator for the alleged shutdown of a Kumasi-based radio station which had booked the former president for a live interview.

It described as “wholly false, accusations in a separate publication that were attributed to a former Deputy Communications Minister Ato Sarpong, who blasted the NCA for allegedly taken Abusua FM off-air before an interview with Mr Mahama”.

The Authority, in furtherance, expressed worry over allegations that it orchestrated the break-in transmission experienced by Accra-based Joy FM during the airing of a documentary on the NLA on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.

“Finally, a break in transmission of a documentary by Accra-based station, Joy FM, which was experienced on multiple digital platforms on the night of 18th November 2020, was also erroneously attributed by some to deliberate interference by the NCA”, the statement added.

The NCA explained that, as part of its mandate, it has licensed several categories of service providers to deliver
internet connectivity to Ghana and thus does not have access or “keys” to any of these networks, and therefore cannot remotely shut the internet down.

It, therefore, stated that” “the Authority has not directed any of its licensees to shut the Internet down on Election Day as claimed in the news report, and there is no intention to do so. The NCA cannot block, jam or interfere with broadcasting signals. As a telecommunications and broadcasting regulator, and in line with global best practice, the NCA has frequency spectrum monitoring equipment whose ability is limited to receiving signals and detecting their source, but not to jam them.”

Source: Daily Mail GH

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