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Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister

StarTimes row…Ghana’s DTT not handed over to Chinese firm

BY KWAME ACHEAMPONG

THE COMMUNICATIONS Ministry has reiterated its position that Ghana’s broadcasting space is not being handed over to Chinese firm StarTimes as is being perceived by some Ghanaians.

“The ministry wishes to state emphatically that it has in no way committed to and does not intend to hand over the management of the DTT infrastructure platform to any third party.

“The DTT infrastructure platform shall be managed as a commercial entity incorporated as the Central Digital Transmission Company Limited (CDTCL)governed by a board (representatives from Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), TNX Creative Arts Industry and contents Producers, MoF, MoC, the CEO of the CDTCL and the board chair).

“The selection of a contractor and financing options for any aspect of the project ought not to be interpreted as an intention to hand over the ownership and management of the platform to any third party,” a statement by the ministry read in part.

The Chinese company has secured a deal with the government that will see it extend satellite television to over 300 villages across the country.

The Communications Ministry believes the move will help Ghanaians in rural communities to become alert on national issues and be involved in development since they will have access to content about national projects.

But, GIBA believes the move is a cover-up by the Chinese firm to push them out of business and control the national space.

“The Agenda of StarTimes is not only aimed at profit or the indoctrination of Chinese culture (names, language, food, etc.) and programmes, but a larger mandate to take over the control of the broadcast space in strategic African countries including Ghana, which is crucial for the China game. Whereas today, China does not allow foreign ownership of media and for that matter, will not allow the African broadcast media the space to trade our African channels in their country. Why then should African states give our broadcast space in the fashion as we are experiencing at the moment?” GIBA quipped.

Minority MP rejects assurance

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for Kunbungu, Ras Mubarak has raised doubts about the Minister’s assurance.

“The Ministry is trying to find a way out of a mess they have created… there’s clearly no transparency in the entire exercise.

“The response from the Ministry clearly cannot be classified as satisfactory. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions and we would want the Ministry to meet the Committee as soon as possible to lay bare the facts,” he stated in a media interview.

 

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