Kwasi Gyan Appenteng
Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Kwasi Gyan Appenteng, has assured media houses and practitioners that the new Content Standard Regulations, Legislative Instrument (LI 2224), is not aimed at ending pressing freedom or gagging the media.
He says it is to ensure the adherence to nationally and globally acceptable standards of operation and make the media more responsible and innovative.
Parliament last month passed the new LI 2224, which among other things, states that “an operator shall not convey or permit to be carried, content on a public electronic communications service or a broadcasting service without obtaining a content authorization from the Commission [National Media Commission].”
Failure to obtain permission attracts “a fine not less than five thousand units or a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years or to both the fine and term of imprisonment.”
Some operators in the broadcasting industry however, believe the law is a subtle way of gagging the media. The Ghana Independent Broadcasters’ Association (GIBA) believes that the new law is a reintroduction of the repealed ‘Criminal Libel Law’ through the back door. They had vowed to seek interpretation from the Supreme Court.
But speaking at the inauguration of the Volta Regional Media Advisory Committee (VRMAC) in Ho, Mr. Appenteng assured that the regulation “is not to undermine their (media) ability to do their work but to enable them to do it, knowing clearly what the law permits and does not permit.
“This regulation should not cause any worry to any broadcaster or the public, all across the world, broadcasting is regulated because broadcasting has immense reach that we can’t allow the airwaves to be used in an unregulated manner. The NMC by the powers confirmed on it by the constitution, has just set out ways by which our broadcasters can conform to international standards. So that broadcasting will convey decent messages and images will truly reflect culture and culture aspirations.”
The five-member Regional Media Advisory Committees (RMAC) is to support the NMC in monitoring and engaging players in the industry in the Volta Region. Mr. Appenteng said the institution of the RMACs, which is sponsored by the European Union (EU), is a creative intervention in the spirit of the NMC’s constitutional mandate.
Most Reverend Emmanuel Kofi Fianu, Bishop of Ho Diocese of the Catholic Church, chairs the VRMAC with other members being Dr. George Mawusi Afeti, former Rector of Ho Polytechnic; Simon Kobla Dewotor and Nenorla Kwashie Kallten Gidiglo, retired educationists; Yaa Amankwa Opuni, Assistant Registrar, University of Health and Allied Sciences Ho; Anthony Bells Kafui Kanyi, acting Volta Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists’ Association as well as Bruce Senam McBrain, a member of the Ghana Writers’ Association.
From Fred Duodu, Ho ([email protected])