The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), has expressed concern about the withdrawal of the minimum specifications for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) by the National Communications Authority (NCA).
“The impact of the withdrawal notice, runs into billions of Ghana cedis of private capital, invested into legitimate business in Ghana,” Mr. Prince Hari Crystal, GIBA Executive member stated in Accra, at a Trainer of Trainees workshop.
The workshop was to highlight dangers of implementing conditional access technology, on the digital terrestrial television free to air broadcasting.
Mr Crystal noted that the NCA decision could also lead to the loss of thousands of jobs and the termination of the growth of the broadcasting sector.
Mr. Crystal said currently, several millions of approved DTT receivers, which carried the Ghana DTT thumb logo and product identifier code, were being sold throughout Ghana.
He said millions of Ghanaian households have purchased the device, with several millions still in shops and warehouses across the nation and in transit.
“In migrating to digital broadcasting, should we include an encryption system called conditional access system where this device is supposed to deny access to free air broadcast and grant access only when a viewer pays money? he questioned.
Mr. Crystal said GIBA’s position was that, currently, there was a multiplicity of television outlets, and the authorization given by the regulator, “encryption means blocking people from watching unless they pay.”
He said this was in complete contrast with provision of the country’s constitution “which says everyone should have access to information”.
Mr. Crystal said the directive should have been arrived at in consultation with GIBA and other stakeholders such as decoder sellers, in order to properly take into account all relevant factors.
The workshop was attended by a cross section of GIBA members.
The NCA recently announced that the Minimum Specifications for Digital Terrestrial Television had been withdrawn and was being modified.