The Board of the National Media Commission (NMC) has pleaded with the government to, as a matter of necessity, provide it with the necessary resources to enable it carry out its constitutional duty of ensuring the highest journalistic standards in the country.
Articulating the interests of the NMC Board to the President when its members paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House, the Chairman of the Commission, Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, lamented that the Commission is seriously under-resourced, making it practically impossible to monitor effectively, media output in the country.
"One of the things that we require, as a regulatory body, is a mechanism for the sustainable and effective monitoring of media output. From the NMC’s account, we have close to three hundred (300) radio stations. That is a very enormous responsibility and, therefore, an effective monitoring system is very critical," the NMC Chairperson observed. According to Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh, the NMC Chairman, the Commission needs approximately "between three (3) to five (5) million dollars to set up an effective monitoring system."
Proposed Reforms of GBC
In his address, the leader of the NMC proposed that there is a pressing need for the government and the NMC to look at how the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) can be turned into a true public broadcaster.
"We have set up a committee that we think can be entrusted with the responsibility of looking at how to restructure GBC and make it the public broadcaster that we are looking for. Tentatively, Elisabeth Ohene is the one we have penned down to chair that committee," Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh said.
President Akufo-Addo, in response to the proposals and requests of the NMC Board, indicated that the call to reform GBC is welcome news and of great public interest.
"I find it abnormal that in a democracy, a multi-party state that you have the concept of state media. The possibility of that media being an instrument for party propaganda in a multi-party state is very strong. To the extent that you are concerned about having a proper definition of the role of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, I think those concerns are well-founded and well-placed. Every effort should be made to assist you to proceed with the review", President Akufo-Addo said.
President Akufo-Addo described as a ligitimate request, the call to resource the NMC to effectively monitor the media. He assured the NMC Chairman and his Board that his administration would give consideration to the request for resources and carry out appropriate budgetary allocation for same.
Members of the board, which has been re-constituted, include Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh, Nii Addokwei Moffatt, representing the Ghana Association of Writers; Rev. Dr Mrs Comfort Asare (National Council of Women and Development), Mr Yaw Buaben Asamoa (Parliament), Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi (Parliament), Mr Richard Mawuli Quashigah (Parliament), Mr William Orleans Oduro (Ghana Bar Association), Mr Prince Hari Crystal (Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association) and Nana Addo Gyau Akabisa II (Ghana National Association of Teachers)
The others are Mr Roland Affail Monney (Ghana Journalists Association), Mr Bright Blewu (Ghana Journalists Association), Dr Andy Ofori-Birikorang (Training Institutions and Communicators), Joseph Debrah-Gyamfi (Trades Union Congress - Ghana), Hajj Muhammed Amir Kpakpo Addo (Muslim Group), Sir Benedict Batabe Assorow (Christian Group) Mr Elorm Edward Desewu (Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana), Ms Elaine Sam (Institute of Public Relations of Ghana), and Mr Yaw Sarpong Boateng (Office of President).
The National Media Commission is a government of Ghana agency mandated with the responsibility of registering, regulating and monitoring the activities of media houses in Ghana. The National Media Commission was set up on July 7th, 1993 by an Act of Parliament, National Media Commission Act 1993, Act 449 in pursuit of the provisions of the Chapter 12 of Ghana's 1992 Constitution, which enjoined among others to take all measures to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the highest journalistic standards on mass media, including investigation, mediation and settlement of complaints made against or by the press or other mass media.