The National Communication Authority (NCA) yesterday commissioned an ultra-modern Broadcasting Monitoring Centre (BMC) at its office to monitor radio and television stations’ content in the country.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, the Director General of the NCA, Joe Anokye, said the establishment of the monitoring centre is an important solution to some of the challenges faced in the broadcasting space of Ghana.
Mr Anokye said the new system has 16 satellites receivers and monitors providing Free to Air (FTA) satellite TV services over the territory of Ghana.
He noted that broadcast media monitoring solution such as the BMC play an important role in the society, for content monitoring purpose for various institutions, including but not limited to the National Media Commission, National Security and other security apparatus, Food and Drugs Authority, GHAMRO, among others.
He stated that, over the years, as the number of FM radio and television broadcasting authorisations increased, so was the need to automate the regulatory compliance administration.
He recalled that by late 2017, it had become apparent that the country could no longer rely exclusively on periodic spectrum monitoring to verify compliance with technical conditions associated with authorisations.
He indicated that Ghana could not leverage fully its legacy systems to efficiently manage the increased number of broadcast authorisations.
To address this, he said, the NCA initiated two key projects towards enhancing the Authority’s operations.
“The first is automating the spectrum management process with a new Automated Spectrum Management System (ASMS) to digitize the application process, frequency planning, technical analysis and the processes of modification, renewal, suspension, revocation, cancellation, and transfer of authorisations,” he said.
He reported that this painstaking exercise had been completed for the services which use the radio frequency spectrum, adding that “a key weakness in the Authority’s response set up that gave rise to the findings of the 2017 FM broadcasting audit has been cured through technology and innovation”.
The efficiency gains, he observed, led to a decision by the board and management to expand the system to cover all the other non-spectrum services administered by the NCA.
“The second initiative was the establishment of systems to effectively monitor compliance to the technical conditions of the broadcast Authorisations. I am happy to report that we have progressively acquired spectrum monitoring tolls for the engineering team, one of which is the Broadcasting Monitoring System (BMS),” he stated.
Mr Joe Anokye expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation and other stakeholders for their leadership roles on policy in this regard. He also thanked the present and immediate past Board of the NCA for approving the required resources for these initiatives.
Regarding the technical parameters being monitored by the NCA, he said his outfit will now have evidence of what goes on in the broadcasting landscape.
This, he noted, will bring sanity to the media landscape as well as force Broadcasters to operate within their bandwidth to avoid interruptions.
“In short, this initiative gives the opportunity to observe the media…The challenges faced by various Agencies include ensuring efficient spectrum management, making sure that Operators in this field deliver on the technical specifications that they are required to and having a smart digital archiving system for the broadcasting content.
“Contrary to the broadcasting industry, current technologies for broadcasting via the internet and social media platforms give people the ability to retrieve past content unlike our traditional broadcasting which is transient in nature,” he added.
He said the commissioning of the Broadcasting monitoring Centre will also force broadcasters to operate within their bandwidth to avoid interruptions.
He assured the general public that the NCA Monitoring Centre and National Media Commission would work hard to monitor radio stations and television content to protect consumers of broadcasting.