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NMC ‘slaps’ Ursula Owusu in the face; rejects her directive to GBC to reduce DTT channels

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The National Media Commission(NMC), the agency charged with regulating the media space, has rejected a directive by Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, to the effect that the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) reduce its channels on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) from 6 to 3.

Ms Ursula Owusu-Ekuful had directed that GBC reduce its channels so that they could be enough redundancy on the platform.

But GBC had stressed that it could not reduce its channels since, among others, all the channels were being used for equally important broadcasts and therefore petitioned the NMC to look into the matter as the regulatory body.

The NMC has responded by rejecting the directive, explaining that the directive is both unconstitutional and usurps the mandate of the NMC itself and so it will not approve it.

“The Commission wishes to state clearly that the directive given to GBC and Crystal TV by the Minister for Communications purports to usurp the constitutional mandate and authority of the National Media Commission and same cannot be obliged under our current constitutional dispensation,” the NMC said.

The commission noted that the directive if approved will limit the capacity of GBC in carrying out its mandate.

“It is the view of the Commission that any action by any entity which culminates into limiting or depriving the media of the use of public resources legitimately allocated to them undermines their capacity to serve the nation as anticipated by the Constitution….The Commission wishes to state clearly that the directive given to GBC and Crystal TV by the Minister for Communications purports to usurp the constitutional mandate and authority of the National Media Commission and same cannot be obliged under our current constitutional dispensation,” it explained.

The directive has been criticised by several bodies and many individuals. The Media Foundation of West Africa (MFWA) had even petitioned the NMC not to approve the directive.

The NMC was reconstituted by the Akufo-Addo administration in 2018. It is headed by Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo.

Other members of the re-constituted commission include: Nii Addokwei Moffatt, representative of the 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).

The rest 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).

The rejection of the directive will be welcome news for the many who criticised the Ministers directive.

 

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