General News of Wednesday, 26 July 2017
LEGAL Advisor for Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) Ghana, Samson Lardy Anyenini, has urged parliament to pass the Broadcasting Bill to prevent politicians from owning media outlets in the country.
Politicians get to determine what goes into the public domain when they own media houses and, according to him, that heightens propaganda.
Mr Samson Lardy made this call at launch of the project ‘Promoting Citizen’s Participation in local Governance through Increased Access to Information by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MfWA) and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The forum also unveiled the MfWA’s findings in their research on Media ownership in Ghana.
In an interview with the media, he said “The crusade now is about getting the Broadcasting Bill passed which will ensure that an individual, who is politically exposed, would not own a media house.
The bill when passed, according to Mr Anyenini, will also see to it that individuals would not own multiples of media houses as it gives them undue advantage over their peers with only one media house.
He believes the Broadcasting Bill has delayed because media owners, who are part of the legislature, feel it will halt the monopoly they enjoy and the control of content they churn out.
Minister of Information Mustapha Hamid, who chaired the forum, said he was committed at ensuring that the Bill will be passed by his government, disclosing that a stakeholder meeting will be held to discuss the Broadcasting Bill with the National Media Commission.
The research findings revealed that lack of transparency and limited access to ownership information prevail in the media industry in Ghana.
It further revealed that conflict of interest between media owners and politicians and a weak regulatory system posed a threat to freedom of expression in the country.
The media ownership monitor in Ghana, according to the report, shows that a high number of TV outlets, radio channels or newspapers, does not necessarily mean a pluralistic media landscape.
The research also showed that out of the monitored media outlets, a third are either state-owned or have shareholders with political affiliations, amongst them high-level politicians.
The research findings illustrate the extent to which Ghanaian media ownership and management is male-dominated.
Out of the 25 monitored media companies, only two have female owners – Stella Wilson Agyepong for Oman FM and Edith Dankwa for Business and Financial Times Limited.
The three-month long investigative research was jointly conducted by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and Reporters Without Borders (RWF)
Professor Kwame Karikari, Board Member of the MfWA, lamented how such an important Bill has been left to rust in the shelves of Parliament while the country lost numerous benefits.
Prof Karikari also appealed to the Ministry of Communications to improve the weak communication system in the Upper West Region to enhance network coverage in all communities for easy communication.
He also recommended to the National Communication Authority (NCA) to facilitate the establishment of a community Radio Station in the Wa East District to improve citizen’s access to information for a well-informed society.
The Board Member of the MfWA also urged the Ministry of Tourism to take the needed steps to develop the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary and other potential tourists’ sites to create jobs and promote local tourism for economic development.
Prof Karikari also called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to improve security in the Wa East and Wa West Districts by improving police staffing in the districts while the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources took steps to stop the illegal harvesting of rosewood in the
Mr Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, who launched the project on behalf of the Regional Minister, Mr Sulemana Alhassan commended the MfWA and OSIWA for the project and for its continued effort at deepening good governance in the region.
He said through such complementary advocacy efforts, citizen’s participation in governance was gradually picking up and that Ghanaians were beginning to take interest in issues of governance.
Mr Issahaku said the access to information project was a great opportunity to improve the information disclosure between community citizens and local authorities through weekly radio programmes, quarterly “State of the District Broadcasts” and community forums among others.
Mr Issahaku Tahiru Moomin, Wa Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), pledged on behalf of his colleagues, their commitment to work closely with the media to inform the citizenry in order to improve their participation in local governance.
Wa Municipal, Wa East, Wa West, Lawra and Sissala East are the five selected Districts to benefit from the project in the Upper West Region.