The National Communications Authority (NCA) has, in a major crackdown, shut down 49 television (TV) stations for operating without authorisation.
A fetish priestess, Patience Asiedua, popularly known as Nana Agradaa, who owns two of the affected stations - Thunder TV and Ice1 TV — was arrested during a raid on the stations.
The other affected channels include Dove TV, NTV, Power TV, Maranatha TV, MTA, Chief TV, Kiss TV, Sagani TV, Ogyaba TV, Nazareth TV, CACI TV. Ahotosour TV, BOC TV, OK TV, Cash TV, Lion TV, Akwasi TV, Lion TV, Akwasi Awuah TV, Eno TV, Apple TV, SBN TV, Agya Kofabae TV, Next TV, Face TV, SBN International and Adzipa TV.
The rest are Ezra TV, Truth TV, Royal STar TV, Virgin TV, Days TV, Serwaa TV, Iron TV, JA1 TV, Abapa TV, Asempa TV, BTV, Kwaku Bonsam TV, Asomdwie TV, TV Magic, Channel 45, Perfect TV, Anima TV, Obour TV (Now Elijah TV Plus), TV Universe, Apinto TV/Time TV and Obour TV Plus.
In a press release yesterday, the NCA said the move formed part of a continuous monitoring exercise conducted on various Satellite Free-to-Air Television platforms using the Broadcast Monitoring System (BMS) and the Radio Spectrum Monitoring System (RSMS).
"The monitoring revealed that some channels were operating without valid Authorisations, contrary to Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act 775 of 2008, which states that, “Except as provided by this Act or any other law not inconsistent with this Act, a person shall not operate a broadcasting system or provide a broadcasting service without a frequency authorisation by the Authority’," the release said.
It added: "As a result,49 channels have been identified to be operating without valid authorisations from the Authority and is being shut down accordingly."
Nana Agradaa was arrested after a joint team of officers from the Police and National Security, in collaboration with the NCA, raided the premises of her Tv stations at Kasoa
The arrest of the popular fetish priestess was confirmed by the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.
Taking to her Facebook page, the minister said the stations were transmitting without licences.
She added that Nana Agradaa had admitted to the illegality and had been placed in police custody, assisting with further investigations.
The team also seized equipment used in the transmission of television signals from both stations.
The two stations broadcast on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform, but the minister said the influx of such unlicensed television stations had led to the promotion of certain content which might affect public order, morality and the rights and reputation of others.
"Nana Agradaa advertises her ‘Sika Gari’ on her TV station, which she claims is her personal god that multiplies money with some rituals she performs. She has since admitted to this illegality and is currently in custody, assisting with further investigations," the minister explained.
"The influx of unregulated television stations on air has led to the promotion of certain content which may affect public order, morality and the rights and reputation of others. As such, efforts are underway to rid the system of this canker and reduce overcrowding on Ghana’s airwaves," she added.
The priestess hosts a current affairs programme on Thunder TV, titled: ‘The Talking Point With The Great Nana Agradaa’ from 7.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. on Sundays.
The show is simultaneously streamed on Facebook on the Thunder TV LIVE Facebook Page and promoted on her personal social media pages, including Instagram, where she has over 45,000 followers.
She has another show: Sika Gari, on Ice1 TV, where she makes claims about her ability to double money.
In one of the videos which has gone viral on social media, she is joined on the set by Kumawood actor Akwasi Asamoah, aka Big Akwes, as she solicits calls from viewers to contact her for "money-generating services".
In another video, while removing bundles of cedi notes from a box filled with money, she urges viewers to visit her shrine.
A police source told the Daily Graphic yesterday that there were a number of alleged fraud cases against Nana Agradaa being handled by the Accra Regional Police Command and the Sowutuom District Police Command.
Most of the cases were related to money doubling and fake business opportunities offered by the priestess using her television stations as a medium to entice her victims, the source said.
Her arrest comes on the heels of the gruesome killing of a 10-year-old boy at Kasoa allegedly by two teenagers for money ritual purposes after they reportedly watched spiritualists promote their prowess in making people instant millionaires in television broadcasts.
Public discussions since the Kasoa incident have centred on why television contents focusing on ritual activities have been allowed on the airwaves in Ghana.