May 22, 2013 (Page 18)
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.”
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.