The Divine Word Missionaries Communications Coordinator for Ghana and West Africa, who is also a member of the Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN), has reiterated calls on the National Communication Authority to waive off licensing fees for community radio operators.
Speaking in an interview with GhanaWeb.com on the sidelines of a public lecture organised as part of the 70th anniversary Public Lecture Series of the Ghana Journalists Association and on the 20th anniversary of GCRN, the founder of Radio Afram Plains said, the call for licence waiver for community radios is necessary, considering the economic environments in which they operate and the purpose they serve.
“It is has not been easy for the volunteers and we are still struggling to renew our licenses,” he said. “As we speak now we are negotiating with the NCA to waive the fees for us so that we will be able to renew our license. It is only when you live among poverty that you will be able to understand, if you live in Accra you don’t understand. But when you live in the interior, when you see how people live you will be able to understand.”
He further reiterated calls for the extension of the current 5km range of community radio networks, citing the size of the Afram Plains area which is served by the Radio Afram Plains as an example.
He said: “The radio is actually serving a lot of people, especially the people in the interior who have no access to many many things. I always tell the people there many people who have never seen coal tar in Afram Plains, they have no idea, and some have never seen a vehicle before. Afram Plains is big, it’s not a 5km thing it is very wide, so these are all problems that we are negotiating with NCA even to extend the coverage so that we can touch all the people inside there farming to feed the country.”
The Wednesday December 4, 2019 public lecture was on the theme: Community Radio and the Journey to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Voice of the Least Voiced to “Leave no One Behind”, the lecture was chaired by Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, who is the Dean of the School of Information and Communications Studies at the University of Ghana.
People who delivered the lecture included Professor Alex Quarmyne, Member of Founding Council of Elders, GCRN and other representatives of some community radio stations, who delivered their lecture in the languages of their communities.
Some of the topics addressed at the lecture include: Community Radio as a Journey Vehicle, Community Radio as a Unique SDGs Resource and the Challenges of Community Radio in Supporting the SDGs