The Supreme Court composed of a seven-member panel presided over by the Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah (CJ), yesterday, Tuesday 23rd June 2020, delivered its judgment in the GIBA vs NCA case. In the said case, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), sought the Supreme Court to declare that the implementation of the Conditional Access (CA) system to block free access to authorised Free-to-Air television content was unconstitutional.
In their Lordship’s opinion, the Conditional Access system the GIBA complained of, had not been implemented and the blocking of access not yet carried out hence the Court was being invited to pronounce upon an anticipatory breach of the Constitution. Based on this, the Court declined to decide on the merits of the matter.
According to the Court, the publication of the new Standard by the National Communications Authority (NCA) containing the alleged wrongful requirements was only indicative of an intention, and that was not sufficient to invoke the Court’s jurisdiction.
Accordingly, GIBA retains the right to go back to the Supreme Court, if the Ministry of Communications (MoC) and the National Communications Authority (NCA) implement the conditional access system since its constitutionality remains undetermined by the Supreme Court.
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GIBA vs NCA: The genesis
It would be recalled that on January 7, 2020, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) released a press statement to state its opposition to the NCA’s intention while bringing awareness to the situation.
By the 28th of January, the GIBA had filed a writ in court to stop the National Communication Authority (NCA) from going ahead to implement the Conditional Access for free-to-air television.