The Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has called for the repeal of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s (GBC) enabling statute NLCD 226, in favour of legislation that defines the public service broadcasting mandate of the Corporation in a comprehensive manner.
Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA, said the current status of the GBC limited its operations and urged the Ministry of Information to encourage the present Board of the Corporation to develop a draft bill for the consideration of the Ministry and the National Media Commission before a joint sponsorship to Cabinet.
Mr Tetteh, who led a team of GJA national executives to present a paper on the “Transformation of GBC into a True Public Service Broadcaster” to the Minister of Information, expressed worry over current performances of the Corporation. He said the GJA recognised that the GBC as a state owned broadcasting organisation with limited public service mandate “needs to be supported to be transformed into a true public service broadcaster, especially in terms of its legal mandate, funding and philosophical outlook.” He urged the Ministry to actively support the GBC to secure the necessary funding to carry out its restructuring exercise.
Mr Tetteh said that the government should set up a Public Service Broadcasting Fund to support public service broadcasting in the county. “Such a fund must be insulated from political and commercial interests and should be managed by the National Media Commission. GBC should receive substantial funding from such a fund to prevent the marginalisation of the Corporation by commercial competitors and the dilution of the corporation’s public service mandate. The State should put in place a framework that mandates all broadcasting stations in the country to undertake a minimum transmission of free public service”.
Mrs Zita Okaikoi, Minister of Information, shared the GJA’s concern over GBC’s performance in the past few years and said the Ministry had initiated steps that would help the GBC develop, including an increase in the TV licence fee. But she admitted that the GBC had countless shortcomings and charged the management to put its house in order to enhance the Corporation’s performance.
Mrs Okaikoi said the nation needed a public service broadcaster which would be impartial, adding that GBC was well placed to play the role if well managed, as it had the infrastructure. She commended the GJA for the concern and effort and assured that the Ministry would study the recommendations and forward them to Cabinet.
(Source: PeaceFM Online)