Kabral Blay Amihere — Former Chairman, National Media Commission. Picture: EMMANUEL BAAH
Kabral Blay Amihere — Former Chairman, National Media Commission. Picture: EMMANUEL BAAH

Kabral calls for review of Media Commission composition

A former Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Kabral Blay Amihere, has called for a review of the composition of the commission to make it more responsive to the needs of the time.

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He suggested that the 18-member commission which works on a part-time basis should be reviewed downwards to operate full-time. Mr Kabral said that at the establishment of the commission some 30 years ago, the media landscape in the country was dotted with few newspapers, about 20, including the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the Ghana News Agency.

He, however, said that today, it had expanded to over 500 radio stations, dozens of television stations and social media that “requires 24/7 attention of the regulatory body”.

Ambassador Kabral made the call at the first in a series of public lectures to mark the 75th anniversary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital yesterday, on the theme: “75 years of Excellence in Journalism: honouring the past and embracing the present.”

The lecture was organised by the GJA, in collaboration with the Department of Language and Communication Sciences of the College of Social Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Passage of Broadcasting Bill

Mr Kabral also said that for the NMC to be effective and make the necessary impact, there was the need for the passage of the long-awaited Broadcasting Bill “that will empower and enable the commission to carry on with its duty of regulating content on the airways”.

“But in the absence of a broadcasting law, the NMC must not stop short, and as empowered under the 1992 Constitution, take all appropriate measures, including legislative measures to regulate the media,” he said.

Ambassador Kabral further said that “the era of objectivity is gone. All over the world, partisanship and politicisation has taken over the ideal world of objective news coverage”.

He said since the advent of social media, “print journalism has suffered so much, but as the Book said long ago, in the beginning was the Word and the Word will continue to exist for as long as human beings seek untainted and objective information and knowledge”.

“A world of fake news, emerging technologies and platforms have ended the monopoly of professional journalism as the sole source of education, entertainment and information.

“I sincerely hold the belief that traditional journalism with its high regard for professional ethics and media accountability will continue to be the beacon of hope and light for all new media,” Mr Kabral said.

Situation

The Director-General of the GBC, Prof. Amin Alhassan, said the old model of journalism where media houses depended on their contents to survive was under siege as a result of the emergence of the new media.

“That model which has defined journalism for 75 years in our country cannot survive the next five years. “The new model of production is that you invest zero in production. You compete in the advertising market and you get a big chunk of revenue.

“This model has been brought in by the new media where tech platforms do not invest in content production but get the best of advertising revenues,” he said. Prof. Alhassan, therefore, called for dialogue to “protect journalism as an enterprise, journalism as an institution because the economic model that has sustained it for the last 75 years has changed”.

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