Entertainment of Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Below is a statement issued by the National Media Commission condemning Assin North Member of Parliament, Kennedy Agyepong and radio presenter Afia Schwarzenegger for their use of indecent language against each other.
NATIONAL MEDIA COMMISSION CONDEMNS THE USE OF INDECENT LANGUAGE IN BROADCASTING
The National Media Commission (NMC) has noted with dismay the recent exchanges between a radio presenter Valentina Afia Agyeiwaa (aka Afia Schwarzenegger) and the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Hon Kennedy Kwame Ohene Agyepong, on Okay FM and Oman FM, which has subsequently been rebroadcast on other radio stations and on social media.
The nation has rightly condemned the behaviour of the two. However, the NMC notes further that the exchanges represent an example of outrageous breach of the standards of decency required in public electronic communication.
The behaviour of broadcasters in this matter demonstrates the existing weaknesses in gate-keeping and professionalism in the industry. It highlights the concern of the Commission that our nation’s search for peace, development and enlightenment could be heavily undermined if substantive democratic regulatory interventions are not put in place.
When the people of Ghana voted for a liberal constitution with progressive provisions on free expression, it was the collective expectation that freedom would lead to a search for knowledge, progress and peace, which would uplift the standard of life of the people and champion the nation’s development. It was not freedom to destroy the fabric of society; it was not freedom to explode the basest elements of uncontrolled emotions; and it was not freedom to socialize private anger.
Indeed, while the NMC views the recent incident with grave concern, we are aware that it is not an isolated incident but forms part of a growing disregard for decency and good standards of behaviour in the media, especially broadcasting. It was to cure this menace that the NMC enacted the National Media Commission (Content Standards) Regulations, 2015 (LI2224), which discourages offensive content including material that is “sexual, violent, aggressive and humiliative.”
The Commission would like to remind all operators of electronic communications networks that their freedom to carry content comes with responsibility. It is important to protect our freedoms and not take them for granted. We must therefore take strong steps to ensure that we do not allow a minority of people to destroy our freedom on the altar of parochial commercial, personal or partisan political interests. We particularly call on the Ghana Independent Broadcasters’ Association (GIBA) to take steps to bring its members to order and to ensure that Ghanaians are fed with decent content.
The Electromagnetic spectrum on which broadcasting is carried out is a scarce and precious national resource. Hence, the persisitent abuse of the media space constitutes an abuse of a national resource, which the Commission will not continue to tolerate.
In this regard, the Commission is pleased that the Despite Group of Companies has issued an apology for the use of indecent language on Okay FM. Although this is a good step, it is not enough. Operators of public electronic communications must ensure that such behaviour is prevented from occuring in the first place.
The NMC wishes to assure all Ghanaians that the Commission is alive to its responsibilities and continues to work tirelessly to ensure that the nation aspires towards the highest standards of performance in the media.