TV License Fee payment crucial for public broadcasting

By
Robert Anane, GNA

Accra, Sept. 11, GNA – Professor Abeku
Blankson, Vice President of the Ghana Technology University on Tuesday
attributed the reluctance of the public towards the payment of TV License Fee
to lack of understanding.

The public understanding of TV License policy
is crucial to the success of its implementation, Prof Blankson stated at the
Ghana Institute of Journalism Media Dialogue Series, which was held at the Kofi
Annan Centre of Excellence, in Accra.

The dialogue was on the theme, “If not the TV
License Fee, then What? Funding Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the
Future of Public Service Broadcasting in the Highly Commercialized Media
Space”.

He said: “It is about whether the public has
the understanding for the need to support the public broadcaster and not so
much about the amount to be paid”.

The Ghana Technology Vice President, observed
that there was the need for authorities at GBC to take note of the fact, that
the main reason for a remarkable section of the public being sceptical about
the payment of the tax was that they did not see the need, despite the fact
that the tax was very necessary.

Prof Blankson said there was the need for the
public to be convinced, that the public broadcaster was a national asset and
there was the need to sustain it on a collective and nationalistic basis.

He said, “the public should be educated on the
fact that GBC is owned by Ghana. If you do not support it with your license
fee, you are killing your own resource”.

Prof Blankson said there was the need for GBC
to develop innovative ways of making the payment of the tax by the public
attractive.

Touching further on funding public service
broadcasting, he said there were several institutions that would be willing to
partner with GBC, if their stakes in the partnering held good prospects.

He cited the public service broadcasting
outlets in advanced countries such as the US, which was about three times in a
year, would hold fund-raising events.

He said during these events. They would show
some of their most viewed programmes.  

Mr. William Ampem Darko, Former
Director-General of GBC, said it was urgent to come up with innovative means of
funding the public broadcaster.

He suggested that between 0.2 and 0.5 per cent
of electricity bill payment by the citizenry, could go to the public
broadcaster.

Mr. Ampem Darko said very soon people would
begin to watch television programmes on devices which are not television sets
such as lap-tops and mobile phones amongst others, which made innovation in
collecting the fee very important.

He said a trust could be formed to handle the
money, then GBC could come up with a budget to justify the fund.

The former GBC Director-General said “if GBC
could also collaborate with independent producers like National Film and
Television Institute to enrich their programmes, that could also minimize cost
and thus, improve funding and added, GBC should also take good care of its
workers.”

Prof Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, Rector of the
Ghana Institute of Journalism, said whilst private broadcasting was mainly
commercial based and paid a lot more attention to what would bring in money,
public broadcasting ensured that the society as a whole had its needs
addressed, including the needs of those who could not pay to be heard.

He said Ghana, thus, definitely needed a
public broadcasting outfit, and there was the need to support such an outfit as
much as possible.

GNA

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