August 23, 2019
By Regina Pratt
Over one hundred representatives from radio and television stations across the country converged at the Atlantic Hall, Stadium hostel on Wednesday August 21, to dialogue with the executives of National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM), with the view to returning seized routers to radio stations after fulfilling their obligations.
Speaking to members from the electronics media, Director General (DG) of NATCOM Maxwell Massaquoi appreciated journalists for honouring their invitation, thus describing it as a family affair.
He told them that they were not targeting anybody but were doing what the laws permit them to do.
“Regulation compliance is taking place all over the world and that if those across the MRU can do it why not we?” he questioned.
He assured the owners that they would give back their equipment especially those who have settled their bills, adding that they would be magnanimous with some media outlets.
The Director of Regulatory Administration, Sahr Momodu Sewa, said their responsibility is to monitor and see how telecommunications work.
He said community radio stations will not be allowed to operate in major towns and cities if the population is more than 10,000, thus noting that they were not doing it to hurt people but to ensure they comply with their taxes at NATCOM.
He said some 141 stations are registered, 35 in compliance, while 106 are non-compliance.
“20 stations were shut down, 15 migrated to new frequencies, while 14 new frequencies were given out and 12 maintained their old frequencies,” he explained.
Deputy Director of Legal Affairs, Tutu Chakunda said the law mandates them to work with the Act and that media houses must go to the commission for their licenses.
“If the commission does not regulate your bandwidth, there is a tendency that your station may interfere with another bandwidth,” she said, adding that seizure of routers was legal.
Meanwhile, some of the station managers and representatives put forward their concerns and urged the Commission to look into them.