The National Media Commission says it is considering regulatory measures to address the low media coverage of the district assembly elections.
The Commission says it has observed that the media is succumbing to pressure for commercial gains at the expense of the public good.
According to the Commission’s own survey, only 3% of airtime in Accra and Kumasi has been given to the local government elections.
The survey revealed that Kumasi is doing 2.5 per cent while Accra figures stand at 1.15 per cent.
Within the same period — which is January this year — national politics received 35% attention on radio and television.
Data from the research also revealed coverage of gender (female) related issues stood at 7% compared to over 90 per cent for males.
The Commission says it will recommend to media houses across the country what it describes as ‘must carry’ regulatory intervention to address the situation.
The ‘must carry’ rule will require broadcasters to carry certain kinds of contents considered socially desirable which media houses might not necessary carry because it might not be popular with their audiences but essential to society.
It is also to ensure that a certain amount of airtime is allocated to public service by broadcasters.
But could this be the solution? Executive Secretary of the Commission, George Sarpong, however thinks it is.
“So you may decide that every week the broadcaster should allocate a certain amount of airtime to public service which will translate into certain quantum at the end of the year,” he explained.
He adds: “It is a very simple idea that is not complicated so if this will be done then we will meet with stakeholders and explain the importance of the rule to them and agree”.
Meanwhile, the call by the secretary has stirred up arguments among some media houses questioning the ‘must carry’ regulatory intervention.
George Sarpong therefore called on media houses to support the publicity for this year’s local government elections slated for March 3.
Currently the Commission is embarking on a nationwide tour to disseminate results of the preliminary survey to stakeholders.
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