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NCA Rejects Allegations of Broadcasting and Internet Interference

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NCA Rejects Allegations of Broadcasting and Internet Interference

Accra, 23rd November, 2020: The National Communications Authority (NCA) has taken note of
remarks on the online news portal Ghanaweb, dated 22nd November, 2020, and attributed to
former President John Mahama in which he claims the NCA might shut down the Internet on
Election Day, 7th December, 2020. The NCA hereby advises Ghanaians to disregard the remarks as
completely unfounded.

A second misleading publication on Ghanaweb, dated 12th November, 2020, was attributed to a
former Deputy Communication Minister under the headline: “Ato Sarpong Blasts NCA for Taking
Abusua FM Off Air before Mahama Interview”. Mr. Sarpong’s accusation is also wholly false.
Finally, a break in transmission of a documentary by Accra-based station, Joy FM, which was,
apparently, experienced on multiple digital platforms on the night of 18th November, 2020, was
also erroneously attributed by some to deliberate interference by the NCA.

A second misleading publication on Ghanaweb, dated 12th November, 2020, was attributed to a
former Deputy Communication Minister under the headline: “Ato Sarpong Blasts NCA for Taking
Abusua FM Off Air before Mahama Interview”. Mr. Sarpong’s accusation is also wholly false.
Finally, a break in transmission of a documentary by Accra-based station, Joy FM, which was,
apparently, experienced on multiple digital platforms on the night of 18th November, 2020, was
also erroneously attributed by some to deliberate interference by the NCA.

Interference with Internet Communications
As part of its mandate, the NCA has licensed several categories of service providers to deliver
Internet connectivity to Ghana. They include Internet Service Providers, Broadband Wireless
Access Service Providers and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). There are also multiple
international undersea fibre optic cables and several satellite systems which provide Ghana with
access to the Internet. The NCA does not have access or “keys” to any of these networks, and
therefore cannot remotely shut the internet down. To block Internet or restrict access to a
particular website, all submarine cable companies, MNOs and other service providers would have
to agree to do so.
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.

Interference with Internet Communications
As part of its mandate, the NCA has licensed several categories of service providers to deliver
Internet connectivity to Ghana. They include Internet Service Providers, Broadband Wireless
Access Service Providers and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). There are also multiple
international undersea fibre optic cables and several satellite systems which provide Ghana with
access to the Internet. The NCA does not have access or “keys” to any of these networks, and
therefore cannot remotely shut the internet down. To block Internet or restrict access to a
particular website, all submarine cable companies, MNOs and other service providers would have
to agree to do so.
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.

Interferences with Broadcasting Signals
The NCA does not have the capability to 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.

Where necessary, Section 13 of ECA, 2008, Act 775 provides the basis and procedure for shutting
down a radio communication service provider. The NCA serves notices and subsequently
physically closes the facilities down and then monitors thereafter for compliance.

The NCA does not interfere in the work of its broadcasting and Internet Service Licensees. On the
contrary, the NCA assists them to promptly resolve cases of interference when they arise. Licensees
are therefore advised to report outages or cases of interference to the NCA for prompt investigation
and resolution, and not misinform their audiences and clients.

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