NATIONAL: GJA cries for GBC.
The Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has called for the repeal of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s (GBC) enabling statute NLCD 226, for an legislation that defines the public service broadcasting mandate of the Corporation in a comprehensive manner.
Mr 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, on Thursday, expressed worry over current performances of the Corporation.
He said the GJA recognised the competitive advantage of 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 said based on findings of a series of consultations that the GJA undertook with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) and the KAB Governance Consult (KGC) from 2007 to May 2009, it was realised that the public service broadcaster was underdeveloped and needed to engage the priority attention of the executive.
He urged the Ministry to actively support the GBC to secure the necessary funding to carry out its restructuring exercise.
He said the GJA also recommend that the Ministry liaised with the Attorney General and the National Media Commission for a review of the Subvented Agencies Act (Act 706), as it affected the GBC, adding that government should rather 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.
Mr Tetteh said the “GJA recommends that 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, saying Cabinet had even approved an upward review of the Television Licensing Fees from 30 Ghana Pesewas to five Ghana cedis.
She said currently, the GBC had countless shortcomings and charged the management to put its house in order to enhance the Corporation’s performance.
Mrs Okaikoi said there the nation needed a public service broadcaster which would be impartial adding that GBC was well placed to pay 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.
Mr Kwasi Afriyie-Badu, Chief Executive Officer, KAB Governance Consult (KGC), appealed for the continuos use of the GJA’s ideas to the Ministry, saying changes in Ministerial appointments in the past had often led to the shelving of such proposals and recommendations.
He expressed the hope that the GBC would become an independent organisation and a true public service broadcaster that would offer quality service to Ghanaians.