GBC Saga: NMC is a Failure – MFWA
The National Media Commission (NMC) should, as a matter of urgency, make a public announcement of any steps being taken to resolve the current impasse at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), in order to assuage public fears about the eventual collapse of the national broadcaster, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has proposed.
The recommendation by the MFWA follows the refusal by the Director General of GBC, Dr Kwame Akuffo Anoff-Ntow, to proceed on leave, as directed by the station’s Board.
The proceed-on-leave order followed public outcry against what Information Minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid and the GBC Board described as Dr Anoff-Ntow’s unilateral decision to ask Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo to set up special courts across the country to prosecute Ghanaians who fail to pay their TV licence fee.
A statement by the MFWA said the rumpus at the national broadcaster portends ill for GBC, thus, recommended the NMC, as a matter of urgency, “let the public know whether the board of GBC can vary the terms of appointment of the Director General”.
“We request that the NMC comes out with a comprehensive and holistic plan for transforming GBC into a truly viable and sustainable public service broadcaster.
“The MFWA also calls for broader stakeholder engagements to review the operations of the NMC over the years and come up with recommendations on how to strengthen the Commission and its work,” the MFWA added.
MFWA said: “These developments only add to a litany of long-standing problems facing the national broadcaster which have made it almost pale into irrelevance when it comes to the broadcast industry in Ghana.
“The GBC remains a key and strategic asset for the overall development of the country. It is therefore unfortunate that, the National Media Commission (NMC), the institution that is constitutionally mandated to ensure the viability, sustainability, relevance and impact of the state broadcaster has woefully failed to discharge this crucial mandate over the years leading to the current sad state of GBC.
“As required by the 1992 Constitution, the NMC appoints the Director General of GBC as well as its governing board. By virtue of these appointments and other functions of the Commission as mandated by the Constitution, the NMC can be said to have the ultimate responsibility and oversight over the affairs of GBC and other state-owned media. But since the TV licence and all the controversies surrounding it started, the NMC has played a surprisingly dormant role.
“Indeed, one would have expected that given the mandate of the NMC, it would have been the one at the forefront of discussions on the direction and way-forward for the implementation of the TV licence fee regime. This is particularly so given that the purpose was to help strengthen the viability of the state broadcaster. However, the NMC’s silence on matters related to the implementation of the TV licence has not only been surprising but also puzzling.
“It is worth noting that both the Board and the Director were appointed by the NMC and yet while all these developments have been unfolding, one is yet to hear from the NMC despite numerous calls on the Commission to act in order to save the situation and salvage the sinking national broadcaster. Indeed nearly all the state media institutions under the mandate and direction of the NMC are on the same path of declining fortunes.”