The Board of the National Media Commission(NMC)on Wednesday asked government to resource the body to enable it carry out its mandate effectively.
It said the NMC, due to inadequate resources, cannot effectively maintain a sustainable mechanism to monitor media output to ensure high journalistic standards.
Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, Chairman of the NMC made the appeal when the Commission’s Board called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra.
The call was to formally introduce the members of the board to the President, and to formally thank him for their nominations on the body, as well as apprise him to the challenges of the Commission.
The Board was inaugurated a year ago.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh told the President that the mandate given the NMC to ensure the highest journalistic standard in the country was an enormous task that required a matching means to surmount, and the Commission’s current financial state was inhibitory to its achieving its objectives.
He said the Commission was handicapped when it came to meeting some of its basic responsibilities that would complement the trust and confidence that the country placed on it in monitoring the critical media environment.
“We have been given this obligation, but we have not been given the corresponding means of achieving it,” he said, adding that the media had become “critical to the stability of our democracy” and that there was need to effectively monitor their output in the country.
The NMC Chairman said one of the things that the Commission required as a regulatory body was a mechanism for the sustainable and effective monitoring of media output.
And with the proliferation of close to 300 radio stations across the country, he noted that it placed an enormous responsibility on the Commission, thus it was critical that an effective monitoring regime be put in place as soon as practicable, stating it needed five million dollars to set up a national media monitoring mechanism to ensure high journalistic standards.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh also brought to the President’s attention the need to restructure the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in view of making the institution truly public service broadcaster.
He disclosed that the NMC in collaboration with the Information ministry set up a committee to facilitate the quest to redefine the GBC’s role. However consultations hit a snag due to funding issues.
“We are of the belief that we still need a public service broadcaster and GBC is best suited to play that role if it is enabled and given the necessary capacity to do so,” he noted.
On his part, President Akufo-Addo said the quest to reform the GBC into a truly public service broadcaster was a worthwhile initiative of public interest.
He said it was good that the NMC was reviewing the GBC’s role from a state-owned media serving the aspirations and desires of those who controlled the state at every one time.
The President noted that the GBC should exist as a body that provided partial and professional information to the public like those in advanced democracies.
He said it was out of the ordinary that in multi-party state, the concept of state media still waxed strong, stating, “The possibility of that media being an instrument for party propaganda in a multi-party state is very strong.”
“To the extent that you are concerned about having a proper definition of the role of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, I think those concerns are well founded and well placed. Every effort should be made to assist you to proceed with the review.
“The exercise involved is one that government itself can undertake to review the role of GBC,” President Akufo Addo said.
The President said the request by the NMC to be adequately resourced to monitor the media landscape effectively was legitimate and well placed.
He assured the NMC that government would pay heed to the request for resources, and ensure that the body was given the appropriate budgetary allocation.
Members of the NMC board were; Mr. Boadu-Ayeboafoh, Nii Addokwei Moffatt representing Ghana Association of Writers, Rev. Dr. Mrs Comfort Asare from the National Council of Women and Development, Mr Yaw Buabeng Asamoah , member of Parliament for Adentan, Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi from Parliament), Mr Richard Mawuli Quashigah Member of Parliament for Keta , Mr William Orleans Oduro, a representative of the Ghana Bar Association, Mr Prince Hari Crystal of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and Nana Addo Gyau Akabisa II from the Ghana National Association of Teachers.
The others are; Mr Roland Affail Monney, President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr Bright Blewu of the GJA, Dr Andy Ofori-Birikorang (Training Institutions and Communicators), Joseph Debrah-Gyamfi (Trades Union Congress – Ghana), Hajj Muhammed Amir Kpakpo Addo (Muslim Group), Sir Benedict Batabe Assorow (Christian Group) Mr Elorm Edward Desewu (Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana), Ms Elaine Sam (Institute of Public Relations of Ghana),and Mr Yaw Sarpong Boateng (Office of President).