Ken. Agyapong, Sam George trade “blows” over StarTimes Deal in Parl.

Members of Parliament (MPs) for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Agyapong and Ningo Prampram, Mr Sam George today trade “blows” at ther Parliamentary Select Committee on Communication meeting held in Parliament.

The meeting was between executives of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) Members of Communication Committee to discuss the controversial StarTimes deal has to be suspended following a near brawl between Chairman of the Committee Mr Agyapong and a member Mr Sam George.

The two seen to have taken entrenched views over the propriety or otherwise of how the government contract was taken away from local company K-Net and awarded to the Chinese firm.

Mr. Agyapong has publicly stated K-NET unfairly treated his television station NET 2 by taking it off its platform when they were in charge of the deal.

Accordingly, the Assin Central MP demanded abrogation of the K-NET deal with government. Mr Sam George in a response said NET 2 was taken off the K-NET platform because of his inability to pay for satellite link charges. The two lawmakers held on to their views making it difficult for the meeting to continue.

“There was an issue that should not have happen in the first place, especially as there were visitors attending upon the committee. It was an embarrassing spectacle but we will try and resolve it internally,” a member of the committee Mr Ras Mubarak told members of the Parliamentary Press Corps.

StarTimes, the Chinese company has secured a deal with government that will see it extend satellite TV to over 300 villages across the country.

The communications ministry in their explanation claimed the move will help Ghanaians in rural communities to become alert on national issues and be involved in development since they have will access to content about national projects.

However, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) believes the deal does not worth its salt, adding that the move is a cover-up by the Chinese firm to push them out of business and control the national space.

“The Agenda of StarTimes is not only aimed at profit or the indoctrination of Chinese culture (names, language, food, etc.) and programmes but a larger mandate to take over the control of the broadcast space in strategic African countries including Ghana, which is crucial for the China game.

“Whereas today, China does not allow foreign ownership of media and for that matter, will not allow the African broadcast media the space to trade our African channels in their country. Why then should African states give our broadcast space in the fashion as we are experiencing at the moment,” GIBA asked.

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

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