Joint stakeholder group to launch attack on unethical media broadcasters

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Stakeholders in the broadcasting industry have agreed to set up a joint stakeholder group under the National Media Commission (NMC) to examine reports of unethical content.

The Committee will, therefore, invoke the powers of the National Communication Authority (NCA) to take punitive action against offending broadcasters.

In a communiqué issued by the Consultative forum and read by Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah at the Minister’s media briefing in Accra on Sunday, said to achieve the recommendations reached at the meeting last Friday, stakeholders will sign a Memorandum of Cooperation within 14 days of the Meeting to formalise arrangements for action.

The communiqué said the setting up of the joint Stakeholder Committee was in accordance with Section 10 of the NMC Act, 1993 (Act 449) and members will be drawn from the NMC, NCA, GJA, Bank of Ghana, the National Security Secretariat, Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association, and Office of the Attorney-General.

The work of the Committee is to among other things, monitor the broadcasting landscape to identify and examine complaints of unethical broadcast content.

The Committee will examine whether the broadcast content is offensive to national security, public order, public morality, and against the reputations, rights and freedoms of other people.

It will then provide an early warning system for flagging such unethical broadcast content.

It will also recommend appropriate remedies to relevant regulators including the issuance of warnings, suspension of frequency authorisation by the NCA, and withdrawal of frequency authorisation.

The consultative forum also examined key issues in the draft Broadcasting Bill.

While the stakeholders agreed on several policy propositions, others required further address through memoranda from stakeholder groups.

They, therefore, agreed to submit formal written memos on the Bill for immediate attention of the Ministry of Information to assist in formulating a final draft.

They agreed to engage the Judiciary on the balance between media gate-keeping and protection of the freedoms of media and expression.

The Ministry of information pledged to organise annual forum in order to engage stakeholders in the broadcast industry to further strengthen and develop the media landscape.

The communiqué believed the stakeholders engaged in open and frank discussions that will achieve the desired results.

The consultative meeting was convened by the Ministry of Information in Accra last Friday, April 16, 2021, to deliberate on broadcasting in Ghana.

This, follows the recent happenings in the media landscape, with some media outlets allowing the broadcasting of inappropriate contents such as money doubling, ritual for money, fake news and hate speech.

The meeting brought together key media stakeholders to deliberate on measures necessary to regulate the media contents and apply appropriate sanctions to offenders.

The meeting also discussed the Draft Broadcasting Bill and make inputs towards its promulgation.

Some of the participants include; the Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association, Ghana Journalists Association, National Media Commission, National Communication Authority, UNESCO office in Ghana, National Cyber Security Centre, Media Foundation for West Africa, the National Security and Bank of Ghana.

Source: GNA