Pay for TV porn – Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

General News of Monday, 31 July 2017

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

2017-07-31

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications,

Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has expressed worry over the growing rate at which pornographic adult content is shown on primetime free-to-air Ghanaian television channels.

The minister, a lawyer by profession and women’s rights activist, has therefore, suggested a pay-per-view arrangement for TV stations that wish to broadcast adult content for their viewers.

According to the minister, the existing free-to-air arrangement cannot be allowed to continue since it is harmful to children. The pay-per-view, she argued, would deny children access to free pornography.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful made the comment during her speech at the ‘Ghana 60 Years On Film Summit’ held in Accra last Thursday.

She expressed her concern over the free-to-air pornography on some TV platforms.

“Showing pornography during primetime, it cannot be allowed to continue. If you, as an adult, want to watch adult movie, we should pay for it. So it should be pay-per-view, not free-to-air. And we would also insist that the content we show is regulated. So I charge the National Media Commission to review and represent the Content Standards Legislative Instrument (LI) which was thrown out by the Supreme Court.

“We need it but not in the form and which it was first presented. I charge them to go back and do further consultation …and come back with acceptable ways of regulating the content that we show on our media. For the sake of posterity if we are beyond redemption, at least, we should ensure that our children have a better…,” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said when she talked about content on GhanaianTV and the influence of the movie industry.

A couple of months ago, the National Media Commission (NMC) ordered the three local television stations alleged to be broadcasting pornographic materials to immediately cease such broadcasts.

The stations – Ice TV, Thunder TV and TV XYZ – were reported to the NCA and the Information Ministry by two broadcasters, James Oberko and Tommy Annan Forson, for airing pornographic movies on free-to-air television.

The complainants were asking the National Media Commission to intervene to stop the airing, which, they said, was inappropriate.

The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, in a statement disclosed that it has settled the complaints, and has since directed the indicted stations to cease airing the pornographic materials.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful’s suggestion of pay per view suggestion is, however, a contradiction to cease airing or what the law says in the Section 281 of Criminal Code, 1960 (ACT 29).

The laws of Ghana actually support the arrest and prosecution of anyone who circulates obscene materials in public.

According to the law, it is a crime to publish pornography.

Section 281 of the Criminal Code, 1960 (ACT 29) on obscenity states, “Any person who—(a) for the purposes of or by way of trade, or for the purposes of distribution orpublic exhibition, makes, produces, or has in his possession any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph films, or any other obscene objects; or

(b) for any of the purposes above mentioned, imports, conveys, or exports, or causes to be imported, conveyed, or exported, any of the said obscene matters orthings, or in any manner whatsoever puts any of them into circulation; or

(c) carries on or takes part in any business, whether public or private, concernedwith any of the said obscene matters or things, or deals in any of the said matters orthings in any manner whatsoever, or distributes any of them or exhibits any of them publicly; or makes a business of lending any of them; or(d) advertises or makes known by any means whatsoever, with a view to assist inthe said punishable circulation or traffic, that a person is engaged in any of theabove punishable acts, or advertises or makes known how or from whom any of thesaid obscene matters or things can be procured either directly or indirectly, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.”

Nevertheless, the minister went ahead to encourage the media and filmmakers to help shape the next generation base on what it shows them today.

“Let us shape the next generation and instill more good values into them based on the films that you produce today. The power of this sector (film industry) today should shape the national narrative, culture and brand. Perhaps, it is also time that the entire nation gets involved in this conversation as well. As a government, we will continue to provide framework for industry to interact but you need to drive the conversation,” she said when she commended organisers of the film summit.

The ‘Ghana 60 Years On Film Summit’ was organised by Film Directors Guild of Ghana at the Accra International Conference Centre to celebrate previous feats of the film industry and also discuss the way forward to rescue the industry from total collapse.

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