AFAG Kicks Against Compulsory TV License Fees

Pro-NPP Pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), has described as “needless” the decision by the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, to set up special courts to prosecute persons who refuse to pay the mandatory TV license.

According to the group, it was surprising that Ghana had embraced the move to fine or jail persons who default in the payment of the fees when most countries were gradually moving towards abolishing the fees.

In a release copied to, AFAG said, “Ghanaians will not be bullied into paying this fee” adding that AFAG will resist any attempt to surcharge smartphone users with TV license fees.”

It said it remained resolute in its position that the demand for TV license from Ghanaians was wrong and must not be pursued by the government.

“AFAG is totally opposed to a TV license regime from an obsolete Television licensing ACT 1966 (NLCD)” the statement noted.

New Patriotic Party member and former Danquah Institute Director, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has also kicked against the use of courts to ensure payment of the fees, although he approves of the need to pay the fees.

Read the full statement below:

Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) has learnt with mirth a move by the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo to set up a special TV License Court to deal with people who refuse to pay the mandatory TV license.

In an era where countries across the world are either abolishing the TV license fees in countries like Finland and Iceland, or reducing it considerably (Poland, Germany) because of a high evasion rate.

Others such as China, Uganda, Canada, India, Australia, USA, Brazil and Russia are countries with no TV license fees. it is interesting to know that Ghana would rather criminalize her citizens over a system that is being abandoned all over the world.

The UK model, which the Ghanaian system is modelled after, is completely different.

This is because, unlike the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation which generates income from commercial activities like advertisements and announcements and also receives yearly subvention from the government, the local public broadcaster in the UK doesn’t have advertising or subscription as part of its funding mix.

AFAG’s position on the compulsory TV license remains unchanged.

We continue to maintain that Ghanaians will not be bullied into paying this fee.

The world is at a stage where the speed of broadband is going up, and ownership of devices connected to the internet has increased, with people at home possibly watching live TV on devices other than the TV, would they also be billed with a license fee? we hope not.

In the unlikely event, any attempt to charge users on mobile phone for using their devices to watch TV will also be resisted.

This TV license policy has been on the drawing board since 3 years ago.

AFAG opposed attempts to introduce it in 2015. We will oppose it on any day and indeed not now.

It is expected that revenue will be shared in percentage terms among Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), 72%, Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association (GIBA), 15%, National Media Commission (NMC), 4%, Media Development Fund, 4%, Films Fund, 2% and Management of TV Licence Fee (GBC), 3%.

Obviously, the state broadcaster is the target.

AFAG however proposed that, the ministry of information holds a stakeholder forum involving Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), National Media Commission (NMC), the Independent broadcasters association including CSOs and the ministry of finance to draw a road-map on how to charge the consolidated fund for media development.

This fund may be applied to sponsor or support media (television/radio/print/electronic) houses whose specific program promotes Ghanaian values or target minority groups development. It’s a matter of priority!

Be it as it may, we expect the government to explore ways of resourcing the state broadcaster either wholly by the state as stated earlier or through all forms of public-private partnerships as we move GBC to a very independent status.

The government may also consider a private management of GBC.

GBC is endowed with land mass, infrastructure, human resources, logistics and wide coverage of its network. Why is GBC struggling financially? Mr. President if the daily graphic among its competitors remains autonomous and self-funding, then GBC can copy same in the midst of competition.

Otherwise, we blame its poor state on management and the lack of clarity for resource allocation from the state or through an appropriate funding mix involving the private sector.

AFAG is totally opposed to a TV license regime from an obsolete Television licensing ACT 1966 (NLCD).

How much is the TV license fee?
GBC officially reintroduced the collection of the TV Licence fees in 2015 after years of putting it on hold due to non-payments.

While domestic TV users are to pay between GH¢36 and GH¢60 for one or more TV sets in the same house every year, TV set repairers and sales outlets are to pay an annual sum of between GHc60 to GHc240.

For commercial TV operators, they are to pay GHc36 per annum for each TV set.

GBC had in the last two years since the re-introduction, appealed to Ghanaians to voluntarily make their payments.

Opposition to payments

Meanwhile, some Ghanaians have kicked against the payments accusing GBC of not providing compelling content to motivate them to pay the fees.

Others are paying

Despite the seeming opposition to the payment of the fees, some Ghanaians have begun its payment. Some social media users have shared photos of themselves making payment of the fees at various collection points.

Others who try to use the online and mobile portal to make payment have however said their efforts have been futile.

The  GBC Director-General had earlier said the Police Service will help in the pursuit of persons who refuse to pay their TV licence fees.

Dr. Annof-Ntow said the police involvement is to help forestall further challenges with the collection of the fees.

“We made a formal appeal not only to the court, but also to the IGP because we anticipated that we were going to hit a snag and some people will deliberately refuse to pay. So from where we sit, I’m delighted at the fact that the Chief Justice has granted our request. What it means therefore is that, this is an encouragement for everybody to go and pay the television licence.”