Ghana to join Digital Migration Platform in 2018

Patience Gbeze/ Jamila Abubakari, GNA

Accra, July 5, GNA – Ghana would switch on to
the Digital Migration platform in 2018 and not September, 2017 as promised.

The Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful
who announced this at a  two-day National
Forum on Content and Digital Migration in Accra, said the government was
planning to engage a consultant to review the entire process before switching
on to the process next year.

She said every technology had a five- year
expiration and since Ghana’s was developed in 2011, it was imperative to review
it in its totality to ensure that the country have the highest platform to
guide its content.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, therefore, urged
stakeholders to re-examine the policy again to ensure that it was fit before
the country switched on to the platform next year.

The National Forum was organised by the
National Media Commission (NMC) with financial support from the Friedrich Ebert
Foundation (FES) for stakeholders to discuss Digital Migration content and
regulatory policy and how the process affects content production, distribution
and regulatory framework.

The migration was expected to take off in June
17, 2015, but was later postponed to September, due to some hitches in the
migration process.

Ghana missed the initial June 2015 deadline,
which was set under the Geneva 2006 agreement of the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU), because of delays in accessing funding for the

The Minister announced that the government
would establish a DDT Company, which would have all media companies on the
board to facilitate the process.

She talked about a comprehensive awareness
creation drive on the migration process to prepare the public.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said government would take up
the responsibility to subsidise the set-off boxes for those who cannot afford
it to have access.

She said under the migration policy, all
broadcasters were expected to allocate 70 per cent of their prime time to local

She urged the producers to take advantage of
that to showcase Ghana’s rich culture and the way of living.

She urged the public, especially the providers
to adhere to the rules and regulations covering the process, adding:
“Government will enforce sanctions against defaulters.”

Mrs Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, a Deputy
Minister of Information, said the advent of digital migration would improve the
access to information and urged stakeholders to grab the opportunity to develop
policy that would help build the country as well as  provide direct information to the public.

Mr George Sarpong, Executive Secretary of NMC,
said the Commission intended to use the forum as a starting point to generate
ideas, which would feed into the overall policy on migration.

He said though lots of discussions that went
on in the past concentrated on very technical issues… a lot more remained to be
addressed on their implications for content and response of regulation and

“When we plan to address the issues around
digital migration we must be guided by some framework about the desirable role
of the media of the democratic society.

“Freedom, independence, pluralism, diversity
are non-negotiable prerequisite of a democratic society, he added.

Mr Christopher Forst, Co-ordinator of FES,
expressed the need for stakeholders to focus on content and policy issues to
ensure that after completion, consumers would be satisfy in terms of

He said digital migration could lead to series
of benefits for the country and urged the stakeholder to be focused in order to
combat any challenges that might come with the transition.

Nana Akwasi Gyan-Apenteng, Chairman of the
NMC, commended FES for sponsorship as well as being a partner to many Ghanaian
institutions and projects for more than 40 years.

Attending the forum include members of African
Communication Regulators Network, of which the NMC of Ghana holds the current


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