By Landing Ceesay
The Gambia Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), in response to an invitation from the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) to the inauguration of its Community Radio, sent a letter to the council asking them to desist from inaugurating the radio station while their application for a license is pending.
The authority cited an application for a license they received from the council in July of 2022 that is still going through the regulatory food chain and has not been approved by the Minister of Information yet.
“However, following consultation with the Ministry of Information it is apparent that Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) had on the 2nd July 2022 applied for a broadcasting FM radio license to install and operate an Institutional radio station, but approval has not yet been granted, by the Hon Minister of Information.
“Secondly The Authority being the regulatory entity responsible for license application processing and frequency management as well as assignment, has not assigned KMC any frequency to operate any FM radio station,” PURA said in a letter dated December 19, 2022, and addressed to the Lord Mayor of KMC.
PURA expounded in the letter, that Section 21 (1) of its Act states that; “‘No person shall provide a regulated public service to which this Part applies unless the person: (a) has a license to do so issued by the appropriate person; and
(b) is providing the service by the terms of that license.
PURA in its letter to KMC said Section 21 Subsection (2) further states; “A person who provides a regulated public service to which this Part applies without a license issued by the appropriate person commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than five hundred thousand dalasis”
PURA said Section 229. (1) of the Information Communication Act 2009 provides thus; “A person shall not broadcast, or otherwise operate a broadcasting service or do or permit anything to be done for which a broadcasting license is required under this Act unless he or she is in possession of the appropriate license so required, in addition to any other license or certificate which may be prescribed by this Act for the transmission on or operation of a broadcasting service undertaken by him or her or for the doing of that thing.”
PURA said that based on its Act and the Information Communication Act 2009, KMC should desist from inaugurating any radio station.
“Based on the above, the Authority wishes to advise KMC in no uncertain terms to desist from Inaugurating the said FM Radio Station that is yet to be given the proper authority to operate and or be publicized as a Radio Station within the jurisdiction of The Gambia, without the requisite Authorization and or License. The Authority is counting on your urgent cooperation in this important matter,” PURA stressed in the letter.
The inauguration of the said Community Radio dubbed “People’s Radio” was scheduled for today, but due to PURA’s response to KMC’s invitation, the inauguration could not take place.
The KMC Community Radio is part of the European Union-funded project dubbed “The Kanifing Environmental Transformation Programme” that fancies itself in the utilization of a sustainable focus on new integrated waste management approaches to drive environmental, social, and economic transformation in Kanifing.