Monday, May 27, 2013

Three MPs join National Media Commission

 May 22, 2013 (Page 18)

Justice Joseph Akamba (extreme left), a Supreme Court Judge, swearing in new members of the National Media Commission (NMC) at a ceremony in Accra. From right are Mrs Della Sowah, Mr O.B. Amoah and Mr Fritz Baffuor.  Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANOJustice Joseph Akamba (extreme left), a Supreme Court Judge, swearing in new members of the National Media Commission (NMC) at a ceremony in Accra. From right are Mrs Della Sowah, Mr O.B. Amoah and Mr Fritz Baffuor. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
A Supreme Court Judge, Mr Joseph Bawah Akamba, has deplored the abuse of freedom of expression by sections of the media.
Reminding journalists that freedom worked in consonance with responsibility, Mr Justice Akamba said “over the years serious concerns have been raised about media tyranny and near anarchy, “ and accordingly urged media owners to use their platforms to promote development in the country.
Addressing newly appointed members of the National Media Commission (NMC) in Accra yesterday after swearing them in, Mr Justice Akamba held that, “while censorship is no option to consider, the daily infractions, the vitriolic personality attacks and the publication of calumnious and inexcusable falsehoods should awaken the Commission to the need for the media to regulate itself.”
Three members of Parliament, namely  the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South, Mr Fritz Baffour, the Member of Parliament for Akuapim South, Mr O. B. Amoah,  and  the Member of Parliament for Kpando,  Mrs Della Sowah, were nominated by the Speaker of Parliament and accordingly sworn in to assist in the operations of the NMC.
According to Mr Justice Akamba, the time had come for the NMC and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), to work in conjunction with Parliament to facilitate the passing of the Broadcasting Law.
“The real challenge for the media is how to develop content that is relevant to the needs of our people. Media owners should spend some time and money in developing appropriate content that will elevate public discussion on the issues that confront our people, make our people dream and fire their imaginations to do great things for the country, before rushing to collect licences to operate radio and television stations,” Mr Justice Akamba said.
He advised the newly sworn in members to shed their “political garb” and expressed the hope that their performance would bring honour to themselves, their families and the society as a whole.
The Chairman of the NMC, Mr Kabral Blay- Amihere, advised the media to preserve the peace and unity of the nation through an unbiased coverage of proceedings at the ongoing electoral petition challenging the legitimacy of President John Dramani Mahama.
“Neither should the media allow their platforms to be used by others to generate tensions nor false expectation about the case before the Supreme Court,” Mr Blay Amihere stressed.
He further urged the media to allow the Supreme Court to “perform its historic duty” without subjecting the highest court of the land to any form of intimidation.
“It is our hope that the Ghanaian media in their role as reporters and gatekeepers will pass the test of objectivity, accuracy and truthfulness in these trying times,” the NMC Chairman continued.
He took the opportunity to highlight the challenges faced by members of the NMC and accordingly, pleaded with the Controller and Accountant General Department and other government agencies to address those challenges.
For instance, he stated that members of the Commission had for the past eight months not been paid their allowances, adding that members of the fifth and sixth Commission of the NMC, had still not been paid as holders of national posts under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr Amihere admonished the government to find innovative ways of resourcing the national the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), who he said was currently losing out on revenue due to the live coverage of the electoral petition.
The NMC Chairman disclosed that the NMC would continue to engage the government for the establishment of the Media Fund to promote a free and independent media.
Delivering a short address on behalf of his colleague MPs, Mr Baffour said he and the other MPs would support the NMC to ensure sanity prevailed in the activities of the media.
He accordingly appealed to media organisations to refrain from using their platforms to abuse freedom of speech.

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