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Response from the Ministry of Communications on the “GBC shut down” brouhaha

Response from the Ministry of Communications on the “GBC shut down” brouhaha

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GBC has not been asked to shut down 3 channels.

The Ministry of communications cannot and has not asked GBC to shut down channels. The deliberate re-narration and misrepresentation of the engagement and subsequent notice to GBC to mean that GBC has been directed to lose or shut down 3 channels is a mischievous characterization of events.

TV stations public and private are at liberty to choose which transmission platforms to use to transmit their signals. They may, for example, transmit on DSTV, GOTV, MultiTV or GBC T1 platform. A station is not restricted in how many channels it chooses to operate. Access to a transmission platform is, however, a contractual arrangement between the company and the transmission platform.

GBC currently operates and will continue to operate 6 channels or more if its board, NMC and shareholders so desire. The corporation transmits selected channels on DSTV, GBC T1, Multi TV and DTT platform.

Just like how any transmission platform may rationalize the use of its channels based on contractual relations with the content company, DTT has opted to rationalize its channels and create redundancies for future use. DTT has engaged not only GBC but other companies that have more than 2 channels on their platform and requested each company to rationalize their best channels to be accommodated on the DTT platform. This is without prejudice to how many channels the company intends to operate or whichever another transmission platform the companies may choose to flight their channels on.

The companies involved in this rationalization exercise were jointly engaged by the MoC and informed of the exercise and requested to revert within 60days on which channels they prefer to keep.

GBC’s deliberate misinterpretation of this engagement and notice as a directive from MOC to shut down channels is a very unfortunate development.

The Director-General and his management team are very much aware that the MoC cannot and has not asked them to shut down channels and lay off workers. The MOC acting on behalf of the DTT has only served notice that it cannot accommodate more than 3 channels on the DTT platform. GBC remains at liberty to operate as many channels as they desire and can place the channels on any transmission platform they desire based on contractual relations between them.

Should the MoC have communicated to GBC through NMC or MOI

If any transmission platform operator like Multi TV, GO TV, or even GBC T1 wants to engage with a client on transmission arrangements and rationalization of channels, it is a matter between the transmission platform and the media company. DSTV would not need to engage MOI / NMC when rationalizing their client channels. Multi Tv would not need to engage MOI / NMC when rationalizing their client channels. Similarly, DTT did not need to engage MOI / NMC when rationalizing client channels.

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