The decision by government, that Chinese firm, StarTimes, will provide infrastructure for digital terrestrial television has generated controversy in Ghana in the last two weeks.
This week, government through the Ministry of Communications announced that the Chinese firm will amongst others distribute decoders to 300 villages.
StarTimes initially blew their chance to supply and install the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network platform for Ghana after their contract signed in 2012 was cancelled by government in 2015.
But latest information from quarters of the government indicate, the Chinese outlet have been given a new deal by the Akufo-Addo administration.
A development which is generating serious conversation on the airwaves. YEN.com.gh presents three key reasons why government’s deal with StarTimes is bad.
1. Ghanaian business (Media) will suffer
Nobody signs a deal which is not beneficial to their cause. In this deal, the Chinese government and StarTimes seem to benefit in several ways. The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) have raised concerns on how the deal will affect their businesses in the long run.
"We advise the government to back out of whatever deals it has entered into with StarTimes, which as earlier stated, will negatively impact broadcasting in our nation – Ghana. We sincerely ask that broadcasting should be left out of the Chinese agenda,” portions of GIBA’s statement read.
2. Chinese will manipulate our content
It is believed that allowing the Chinese firm ‘take over’ or space in Ghana’s media circles will eventually push lots of Chinese content down the throat. StarTimes will show content that will project the values of the Chinese people. In the long-run, we will have Ghanaians patronising more Chinese made products and probably doing away with Ghanaian products.
3. Arguments have not been convincing
The Deputy Communications Minister, George Andah has been explaining what the StarTimes deal entails. But he has not been convincing enough.
A contract signed by the government with StarTimes in 2012 was cancelled in 2015 after the Chinese firm failed to supply and install the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network platform for Ghana.
The government later signed a new deal with a Ghanaian-owned company K-NET who did the work for $82.4m which is $13m less than the failed Chinese offer.
StarTimes sued the government but lost. The Akufo-Addo government went back for a $1.5bn Chinese facility which was clinched by the Mills government in 2011 but never came.
Mr Andah’s argument is that "I am sure you know how the Exim facility works? It is tied to a supplier that China determines. How do you accept any condition because you need a loan facility?"
Mr Andah adds that StarTimes is in the country this time to do "enhancement" work to that which was done by K-NET.
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Source: Yen Ghana