Devote attention to new media in order to sanitise media space – Supreme Court judge tells NMC

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson

A former Director of Newspapers of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, has been elected the chairman of the newly constituted National Media Commission (NMC).

The renowned journalist, who is also a lawyer, was given the nod to chair the NMC shortly after the swearing-in of 18 people as members of the newly constituted body.

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Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh has more than 35 years experience in the media industry and is a former Editor of the Daily Graphic, the flagship newspaper of the Graphic stable.

He takes over from Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, who was elected Chairman of the NMC in 2015.

Members of the NMC


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The members of the re-constituted commission are Nii Addokwei Moffatt representing Ghana Association of Writers, Rev. Dr. Mrs Comfort Asare (National Council of Women and Development), Mr Yaw Buabeng Asamoah (Parliament), Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi (Parliament), Mr Richard Mawuli Quashigah (Parliament), Mr William Orleans Oduro (Ghana Bar Association), Mr Prince Hari Crystal (Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association) and Nana Addo Gyau Akabisa II (Ghana National Association of Teachers).

Others are Mr Roland Affail Monney (Ghana Journalists Association), Mr Bright Blewu (Ghana Journalists Association), Dr Andy Ofori-Birikorang (Training Institutions and Communicators), Joseph Debrah-Gyamfi (Trades Union Congress - Ghana), Hajj Muhammed Amir Kpakpo Addo (Muslim Group), Sir Benedict Batabe Assorow (Christian Group) Mr Elorm Edward Desewu (Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana) and Ms Elaine Sam (Institute of Public Relations of Ghana), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh (Office of President) and Mr Yaw Sarpong Boateng (Office of President).

They took the oath of allegiance and the official oath which were administered by Mr Justice Julius Ansah, a justice of the Supreme Court.

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New media

Justice Ansah charged the members of the NMC to devote attention to the new media in order to sanitise the media space.

He noted that the reliance of many people on the Internet for news had led to the spread of false news, a situation which had negatively affected many countries, including Ghana.

“I urge you to pay attention to these new media forms and the forms of regulation that will promote freedom without compromising standards, decency and the security of the State,’’ he said.

He urged the NMC to also implement policies that would improve standards and the quality of news in the media.

“We need journalists who have the training and skills to operate in this lightning speed media environment without compromising quality.

“We also need media houses that promote and produce content that is ethical, useful and relevant,’’ he added.
Elections

Justice Ansah reiterated the need for the NMC to put in measures that would ensure that media houses and journalists undertake their work in a responsible manner as the 2020 elections draw closer.

In particular, he said, the NMC must provide the requisite guidance, education and necessary sanctions to prune the media landscape of any toxic political rhetoric that could destroy the country.
“The media must help bring us together rather than inflame passions and division based on tribe, political or religious affiliation,’’ he stressed.
Challenges
For his part, Nana Gyan-Apenteng said the NMC was saddled with numerous challenges, including the lack of funds and inadequate staff, a situation he added had made the commission unable to fully perform its mandate as stipulated by the 1992 Constitution.
“We still have a vibrant media scene and today we are at number one on the RSF index on media freedom in Africa. However, while we have a free and independent media, the question of quality is undermined in practice,’’ he said.
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