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National Media Commission justifies its Content Standard Regulations law


IMG-20160108-WA0007Ghana’s National Media Commission (NMC) has justified its decision to enact Content Standard Regulations Legislation Instrument (LI 2224) that has been passed into law.

The LI, it said, seeks to protect the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons.

The passage of the LI into law sparked wide range of condemnation among media watchers and players in the industry amidst threats of court actions against the commission.

The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) is leading a charge against the law and has started preparing to drag NMC to court.

The law has stirred public fears about the NMC returning the country to the dark ages of censorship, governmental control of the media and a criminal libel regime.

But the NMC says the law is long overdue and that the constitution gives it power to enact laws that are reasonably required in the interest of national security, public order, public morality and the for the purposes of protecting the reputations rights and freedom of the press.

In the vast majority of countries, people or companies seeking to set up broadcasting services are required to obtain a license, which has got two parts. These are the “technical” and “content” standard, which require that operators must do their work, the commission explained.

Chairman of the NMC,Mr Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng mounted a strong defense in Tamale when he inaugurated a seven Member Northern Region Media Advisory Committee (RAMC) in Tamale.

The committee is chaired by the Deputy Registrar of the University for Development Studies (UDS) Council Secretariat.

Other members include, Alhassan Musah-lecturer, UDS, Hajia Hajara Telley-National President of Federation of Muslims Women, Mariama Kate Suleimna – a district Director of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Caeser Abagali-Northern Regional Manager of GNA and chairman of Ghana Journalists Association(GJA) northern chapter.

The rest are; Adam Eliasu- renowned media practitioner, development consultant and academic and Umar Muktar-Deputy Registrar of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS). The northern region advisory committee is the third to be set up by the NMC so far in the country.

He told reporters that the commission needs to re-emphasized its mandate and deploy creative methods to achieve of its mandate.

The advisory committee according to the MNC chairman is an innovative way of widening the scope of the commission’s work not only geographically but also at the conceptual level.

He stated that the standard set in the law were derived from and conform to article 164 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana. Mr Gyan-Apenteng explained further that, the National Communications Authority deals with the technical aspects while NMC’s area of operation is “content’’.

In every broadcasting environment in the world the two regulations are required in the interest of national security and public morality Mr Apenteng stressed.

“Is it feasible for everyone and anyone just to set up broadcasting equipment and start broadcasting? Is it desirable for everyone and anyone having obtained the technical license to use the airwaves in anyway they want without any regard to the public interest, including the welfare of the society?” the NMC chairman quizzed.

Currently, Ghana has more than 320 radio stations with television seeing what the commission called exponential growth while other electronic services are opening every day. We have the numbers now; we need quality, Mr Gyan Apenteng added.

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