GIBA warns over StarTimes ‘scheming’ for broadcasting space

The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has warned it will resist any attempt by Chinese Broadcasting company StarTimes to take over the broadcasting space in Ghana through its arrangement with government.

The Chinese company is said to have secured a deal with government that will see it extend satellite TV to over 300 villages across the country.

GIBA in an press statement said; “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”.

Last July, the Parliament of Ghana adopted a resolution granting prior approval to the Minister of Finance pursuant to Article 174(2) of the Constitution, to waive Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy, Inspection Fees and AU Levy amounting to GHS3,002,860.09 in respect of materials and equipment to be imported by StarTimes, a Chinese Pay-TV operator in Ghana for the “Access to Satellite TV for 300 Villages in Ghana Project.

The Association adds; ‘’It was not clear from the motion and subsequent parliamentary resolution, what the said materials and equipment comprised in. Neither was it clear who the Grant will be delivered to – whether the project as purported will be established and controlled by Ghana or operated and managed by StarTimes of China. It is however manifestly clear that such a project would not be consistent with the agreed roadmap to deliver the Nation’s Migration through Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) technology, following the Government of Ghana’s agreement with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to migrate from analogue to digital television broadcasting. Apart from the fact that there has been absolutely no stakeholder consultation for this project, it would also run counter to the National Digital Migration Policy and the existing Cultural Policy of Ghana’’ it concluded.

By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah