Star times deal: Local content must be key- Expert

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The Assistant Registrar of Ghana Technology University, Kumasi campus Mr. George Akom has urged the government to roll out a policy to ensure that television stations broadcast at least 70% local content at prime time adding that local content must be a key in negotiating deal with Star Times.

According to Mr. George Akom, who is also an Educationist, the need to push local content to provide more opportunities for local content providers especially film producers across the country must be included in any deal with platform group.

This comes at a time when there is a growing discontent among local producers and viewers concern about the influx of foreign content on the airwaves whiles Ghanaina government is in negotiations with the Chinese firm, StarTimes over Ghana’s Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure.

The Information Systems Expert and a Social Commentator Speaking on OTEC FM’s Breakfast Show, ‘Nyansapo’ on Thursday  October 4, 2018 appealed to the  Media Groups to be at the forefront of the digital migration process and called for the various platforms across the group to collaborate in educating the public on the development.

The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) wants the government to end negotiations with the Chinese firm, StarTimes over Ghana’s Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure immediately.

According to GIBA, the project which aims at protecting broadcasting from interference must not be given to any foreign firm, which also owns a TV network in Ghana.

“If StarTimes is allowed to control both Ghana’s only digital television infrastructure and the satellite space in the name of digital migration, Ghana would have virtually submitted its broadcast space to Chinese control and content,” GIBA said.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) urged governments in the world to migrate from analog broadcasting to digital by June 2015.

Some countries have been able to migrate including some in Africa but Ghana; one of the most technologically advanced countries in Africa missed the deadline several times.

The government of Ghana signed a $95 million deal with the Chinese company, StarTimes to contract to supply and install the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network platform for Ghana.

But the government has hit back at the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), describing a litany of concerns the association raised in relation to the role of Chinese multinational media company, StarTimes in migrating Ghana from analogue to digital TV as baseless.

Deputy Communications Minister, George Andah said the premise on which GIBA raised all those objections is flawed.

Mr Andah rubbished GIBA’s arguments; stating that the government has no intention to hand over control of Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to StarTimes.

“There is no arrangement to handover the management of the national DTT infrastructure to StarTimes to manage. There’s a company, Central Digital Transmission Company, [they will manage it],” he said.

But Mr Akom argued that it was important for government through the Ministry of Communication to come clean on the deal with StarTimes adding that dialogue between all the stakeholders was necessary.

“A dialogue is necessary because a decision must be reached. If what the ministry is saying is true and that a contract has not been signed, then let’s talk and get a better deal for Ghana. We have all made it clear that we are not against China or the Chinese firm, we just want Ghana to win,” Mr. Akom told the programme’s host Captain Koda.

Source: Gnana/otecfmghana.com/ Collins Owusu

 

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