Presidential appointee to the Independent Media Commission (IMC) Emmanuel Turay has said there should be a smooth flow of communication between the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) and IMC in terms of giving clearance for licenses and issuing spectrum to intending radio stations. He made the comment during an interview session before the Committee on Appointment in the House of Parliament Monday 28th October 2019. Turay is also the Communications Director at the Ministry of Information and Communication. If approved by Parliament he would be representing the Ministry in the IMC. He said it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Information and Communication to bring the IMC and NATCOM together. Turay furthered that recently there was some problem with IMC and NATCOM; those who have registered with IMC for licenses had been given clearance but when they went to NATCOM they were put aside. “So these two bodies have to have a desk put either at IMC or NATCOM to be able to synchronize their activities,” he pointed out. Turay explained to MPs that the spectrum for the bandwidth between 87.5 to 88 FM ending to 108 FM was tightening up. “This is because we have so many radio stations that have taken license but are not operating and don’t want to relinquish the spectrum for others who want to operate,” he said.
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The Chair for the Committee on Information and Communication, Honourable Matthew Nyuma also acknowledged the fact that there was some amount of tension between the IMC and NATCOM one the issue of working together on licensing and giving of spectrum to intending radio stations. This had been one of the challenges of the two institutions in terms of the work they both do. He asked Turay to use his expertise when approved to look into such concerns and make the necessary amendments. Another issue raised by Hon. Nyuma had to do with monitoring of radio stations that operate in different parts of the country. “Make sure the radio monitoring device is active for the smooth work of the IMC,” he advised. This, would ensure sanity in the work of different radio station in terms of how they go about to put out their media content. In response, Turay said the Ministry’s budget for the 2020 financial year was a bit high because they had factored a lot of things that had to do with monitoring and other useful gadgets to aid the work of the IMC and the Ministry of Information and Communication. “When I go into the IMC I would recommend that we have proper mechanism to monitor the system not only in Freetown but at regional level,” he assured.
By Abdulai Gbla
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