A former President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, has urged the National Media Commission (NMC), the National Communications Authority and other stakeholders to intensify advocacy for a broadcasting law to sanitise the media space.
“Whereas there have been challenges in time past with the passage of the Broadcasting Bill, I believe that we need not wait any longer to have a comprehensive broadcasting law,” she said.
Mrs Affenyi-Dadzie said this when she delivered a speech on the topic “Moral vision and national development-The role of the media” at a national development conference in Accra.
The event was under the auspices of the Church of Pentecost.
The former GJA president’s presentation touched on three issues — media excesses actuated by partisan interests and lack of professionalism; challenges of the NMC as an arbiter of professionalism, media accountability and corruption.
She said despite the successes chalked up in the media landscape, unethical and unprofessional behaviour of certain media houses, especially in the use of intemperate language on airwaves, posed serious threat to national unity.
“The time has come for us to prescribe measures that will enable us as a country to check intemperate language and hate speech before this beautiful nation is turned into something else.
“For someone who has been at the forefront in the fight for free speech and media pluralism, it behoves me to equally speak against excesses in order not to throw away the baby with the bath water,” Mrs Dadzie said.
Data from the NCA website as of July 15, 2023, suggested that the NCA had given frequency authorisation to 707 FM stations in the country, of which 513 stations were operational as of the fourth quarter of 2022, while 45 newspapers had been registered as of September 2021.
A major challenge in enforcing broadcasting standards, she said, was the fact that the agency responsible for standards, NMC, was different from the one that allocated frequencies, NCA.
Mrs Affenyi-Dadzie said this situation had given rise to calls for the NCA to determine the frequencies for broadcasting in terms of quantum and technical specifications and to push on same the NMC for allocation and approval of licenses of applicants.
On sanitising the media space, she called on both the NMC and NCA to publish the list of media houses which engaged in unprofessional and unethical practices monthly.
“Owners and managers of broadcasting stations that use intemperate language should be invited and cautioned by NMC and NCA in the first instance on the provision that this exercise is done in a fair and transparent manner.
“This could be a more effective way to deal with our politicians who hide behind radio and television stations to undermine national unity,” she said.
Mrs Affenyi-Dadzie further suggested that GJA, GIBA and the NMC shame journalists and media houses that violated the code of ethics and other professional standards of the association.
“All leading media houses should be brought on board as partners to ensure maximum publicity of the measures.
I entreat the GJA leadership to initiate the first meeting for discussions of this collaboration”, she added.