Stakeholders must make input into digital migration policy — nmc

BY: Mohammed Fugu
Nana Kwasi Gyan Apenteng
Nana Kwasi Gyan Apenteng

The National Media Commission (NMC) has called on stakeholders in the communication sector to collaborate to ensure that innovative mechanisms are put in place for effective digital migration.

According to the commission, the migration was a global exercise that all countries must adhere to, hence the need for all and sundry, especially stakeholders, to be actively involved and make sound inputs into the digital migration policy.

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Stakeholders’ forum

The Chairman of the NMC, Nana Kwasi Gyan Apenteng, who was speaking at a sensitisation forum on the digital migration process in Tamale last Monday, June 18, 2018, said though Ghana had not been able to meet the International Telecommunication Union`s deadline for the migration, the processes for the migration were progressing steadily.

The forum, which was organised by the NMC, in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), was attended by key stakeholders in the communication sector, including the media, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), heads of academia and civil society organisations (CSOs).

The forum was to enable the stakeholders to make informed decisions and give concrete advice to the government and the NMC for the successful implementation of the digital migration policy.


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Challenges

The Executive Director of the NMC, Mr George Sarpong, said in spite of the positive impact of digital migration, there were a number of social and political implications which needed a comprehensive policy framework to deal with.

“There are a number of social and political implications that we need to have a policy framework to deal with. The final policy that we develop for migration in Ghana should have two components, one dealing with the technical standards and the second dealing with the content and programming issues. Within that, we must make sure that ultimately what we frame does not introduce any vulnerability to the constitutional firewalls of free expression in Ghana,” he explained.

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Concerns

Participants in the forum expressed concerns about the possibility of exclusion even though the government was considering helping low-income homes, especially those in the deprived communities, using analogue television sets, to acquire set-top boxes.

They also suggested that, an independent body or a private entity should be contracted by the government to manage the digital migration system to avoid political interferences and ensure quality broadcasting.

Digital migration

Digital migration is the process where television stations operating on analogue networks will be transferred to digital-based transmission networks until the analogue transmitters are eventually switched off.

The digital transmission, as required by the Geneva 2006 agreement, mandates all countries globally to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2018 to help provide sharp pictures for better vision, clear sounds and more channels.