It appears this government has a never ending war against the media.
First it was the closure of pro opposition media houses, an action that led to several Media and Civil protests and till now, the Media Houses remains close down rendering thousands of people almost jobless!
This same government fought Anas seriously after his Galamsey expose (mind you a previous expose by Anas had left one of his key undercover journalists, openly assassinated).
They asked Anas to produce an unedited version of his documentary, something we were all hearing for the first time (after an expose).
Subsequently the key culprits would be cleared and Anas for the first time would be discredited.
Then Manasseh Azure came with his expose, my dear brother Manasseh would have to ran for his life into exile.
It didn’t it end with the threats on his life, Government itself dragged him and his Media House Multimedia to the National Media Commission, NMC.(probably the first time a government has by itself dragged a media house or a journalist to the NMC)
Eventually, an arranged NMC panel stashed with government appointees will clear the government and label the documentary as sensational in a well ochestrated paradox to discredit Mannaseh Azure and his Media House, then after government would openly celebrate an illusive victory led by Kojo Oppong Nkrumah(the Minister for Information) on Newsfile.
Fortunately a lot of Media Practitioners and Key Media Houses, considering the bizarre media hostility emerging under this government realised that their profession was under threat, the uniterupted Media Freedom they had enjoyed for some time now has by far become illusive and they had to do something else they become extinct or at the very least a lame horse.
So they launched Media Campaigns advocating for Media Freedom, Media Rights and ofcourse a Free Media.
Mind you this same government is seeking to abolish Free to Air Television as stipulated by the NMC and to give government(through the NCA the powers to interfere in the television space and the powers to shut down or censor operators at will and the Media owners have seen the dangers this could pose to broadcasting rights and they are seriously campaigning against it.
So when the media started campaigning against how they were being treated under this government and how press freedom was being stifled, then government responded perhaps in the most awkward way (in the midyear budget review)
And guess what, it slammed about 50% increment on Telecommunications Service Tax.
This will automatically increase call and data costs.
Mind you, Apart from wages and Salaries, Telecommunication expenses remains one of the highest cost component for media houses.
The two main variable cost burden for Media Operators are Electricity cost and telecommunication charges (call and data cost)
So this government knows exactly where and how to hit back on the Media, first it was electricity tarrif that was increased by about 11.17%, then now telecom charges slammed with about 50% taxes.
So the cost of operations for Media Operators are going to skyrocket to the roof, and most of them are going to be rendered unprofitable to operate, some would definitely lay some workers off to stay operational and ofcourse most of them will wind up with huge debts around their neck.
Government’s tactics now is to financially cripple the media, they won’t close you down so you demonstrate and complain about media freedom, they will slam you with taxes that will render you unprofitable overtime and you will close down by yourself….
The ones who will flirt along with government will be dolled with cash and will stay operational.
So overtime, there will be only pro government media houses operating in the Country because it will be extremely unprofitable to operate a Neutral or pro opposition media house.
My dear friends in the Media, we work together all the time, we know the difficulties you go through to bring us the news we all love to read and listen to…
Today I bring you bad news, your profession is under serious threat and if there is any time to rise and fight, the time is now.
Rise up and defend your profession, rise up against Media tyranny, rise up against Media Oppression, rise up against Media Manipulation and resist this totalitarian tactics by government on the Media.
We CSO’s are willing and ready to join you in this fight for we know after clamping down on the media and rendering it ineffective, Government’s next target would definitely be CSO’s.
We shall stand and fight with you and when it is our turn you shall fight with us and together we shall win this battle against State Sponsored Opression.
Executive Director ASEPA
Free Media Vanguard
Source :broadcastergh.com /Ayisah Foster