The Human Rights Court 2 Division of the High Court has ruled against a GHS2,000 fee the National Communications Authority charged Media Foundation for West (MFWA) for information the Foundation sought from the Authority.
The Court in its ruling on Thursday, June 17, 2021, slashed the charged fee down to GHS1,500.
MFWA had requested from the regulatory body information on radio stations in the country, their registration details and the status of their respective licences.
MFWA also requested information on some radio stations whose licences were revoked by the NCA.
The NCA had argued that the information sought via the Right to Information law was not readily available and would have to be searched for.
And that in the absence of a fees and charges regulation guiding the administration of the RTI law, it has to rely on available standards, hence the GHS2,000 fee.
The Media Foundation for West Africa had however maintained at all times that the fee charged was exorbitant and inimical to the enjoyment of the constitutionally guaranteed Right to Information.
The court held that the information being sought was in the public interest and that the specific legal framework in force governing access to information in the country must override general provisions for law upon which various state institutions operate.
It thus ordered the NCA to reduce the GHS2, 000 fee charged MFWA to GHS1,500.00.
The MFWA were in court seeking the following reliefs:
- A declaration that the decision and demand by Respondent contained in its letters dated July 29, 2020, and August 20, 2020, complained about are unlawful, unreasonable, unfair, and in violation of Applicant’s constitutional and fundamental right to access information.
- A declaration that the amount of ¢2,000 demanded by Respondent from the Applicant in order to generate the information constitutes constructive denial, refusal, failure or neglect, and breach of Applicant’s right to information under Article 21(1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana
- A declaration that the amount demanded is not only unlawful but unconscionably exorbitant in breach of the letter and spirit of Act 989 and Applicant’s fundamental rights to information
- A declaration that the information requested by the Applicant is not subjected to a charge/fee; or in the alternative,
- A declaration that if Applicant were liable to a charge/fee, the same ought to be an ascertainable amount to cover the actual cost of reproduction or photocopy of the information sought only.