StarTimes Group, the China-backed digital broadcaster in Africa, is looking to operate Ghana’s digital terrestrial service, but has hit a major stumbling block from a consortium of the country’s broadcasters.
The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has declared it will oppose the Ghanaian government’s plan to cede control of the DTT system to StarTimes.
“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,” said a GIBA statement.
“It is disturbing to have the only Free-to-Air digital broadcasting platform, which is the medium for the dissemination of information to the public and operations of mass media in the digital domain, to be controlled by an individual entity whose current business in the country is Pay TV broadcasting and is already distributing licensed controlled conditional access decoders and digital television sets across the country in aid of its commercial business,” according to statements in local press reports.
“GIBA, as a group, wishes to state our unequivocal objection of the Ministry of Communications’ move to give out our only DTT infrastructure to StarTimes – the Chinese Pay TV entity”.
“We advise the government to back out of whatever deals it has entered into with StarTimes, which, as earlier stated, will negatively impact broadcasting in our nation – Ghana. We sincerely ask that broadcasting should be left out of the Chinese agenda.”