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GBC denies sale of company’s channels

BY: Mary Mensah
Mr  Augustus Yamson, Acting Director General of GBC addressing the press conference
Mr Augustus Yamson, Acting Director General of GBC addressing the press conference

The management of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) has denied selling GBC’s TV channels to private entities to operate.

It said the allegation carried by some media houses that GBC had sold eight channels to private entities was false, as no channel belonging to the state broadcaster had been sold to anybody and that the hanging of banners at the entrance of the corporation was not done by the union but two disgruntled individuals who had been suspended by the union.

At a press briefing in Accra yesterday, the acting Director-General of GBC, Mr Augustus Yamson, said GBC was a state institution being regulated by the National Media Commission (NMC) and so the corporation could not have the power to sell any channel to any entity without the approval of the government and the NMC.

He said what the corporation did was to enter into an agreement with KBL Media to partner GBC to run an Akan station on one of GBC’s channels.

MoU

Mr Yamson said a 10-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed between GBC and KBL, in which GBC was to bring on board an equity worth $350,000, while KBL would bring on goodwill of $100,000 as commitment which it had already paid into the accounts of GBC.

He said all six channels of the GBC seemed to be doing public service, while per the strategic plan, only two channels were to be used as such, with the remaining being commercialised.

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He said the partnership with the private entity was not a new venture, as GBC currently held 50 per cent shares in Metro TV and also owned shares in JOY FM.

Besides, he said, the new venture formed part of the five-year strategic plan of the state broadcaster.

Public broadcaster

Mr Yamson indicated that GBC, per its mandate, was a public broadcaster and both GBC Govern and GBC 24 channels did the same thing and so for the sake of efficiency, the management decided to commercialise it.

According to the acting DG, GBC was cash-trapped; besides, some of the channels had been there for the past six years and were running at a loss.

He said the local union had no part in the mounting of the banners, as it was consulted over the venture and even gave some input before the agreement was signed.

He indicated that the two men who hung the banner had been suspended by the union since March this year and had been duly punished for misconducting themselves.

No tension

He said contrary to media reports, there was no tension at GBC and that all the banners mounted had been pulled down, adding that “all the six channels cannot be used for public service alone”.

Mr Yamson assured the workers of GBC that nobody would lose his or her job as the new station started its test transmission.
“Management will take decisions for the benefit of GBC and not individuals,” he stressed.

Legal

For his part, the Director of Legal Services at GBC, Mr John Kwame Waja, said GBC had the capacity to go commercial, and that in order to transform the corporation, there was the need to follow the strategic plan, which management had done.

He said after 80 years of existence, GBC had to change, adding that now broadcasting had become market driven, for which reason the company could not afford to sit on the fence and be fed by the government.

Petition to NMC

The Greater Accra Workers Union of the GBC has petitioned the National Media Commission (NMC) to complain about the nature of the deal that merged the staff of GBC 24 and GTV Govern and the renaming of GTV Govern as GBC News.

“We want to know what has become of the platform that used to host GTV Govern. Has it been sold to the Jospong Group of Companies, as our checks reveal?” it asked.