Distribution of broadcast signal: It’s our job! … We’ve to appoint CEO, Board of Directors -NMC

Nana Gyan Kwesi Apenteng NMC Chairman

Nana Gyan Kwesi Apenteng NMC Chairman

The National Media Commission (NMC) has advocated an extension of its mandate to cover the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Board of the sole company to distribute the broadcast signals when Ghana finally migrates to digital broadcasting.

 

The Commission argued that such a mandate was already prescribed by the 1992 Constitution which gave the NMC the Constitutional obligation to appoint CEOs and Boards of State Owned media adding that such a constituted company to distribute broadcast signals could be deemed as a media outlet since its digital transmission platform would be an inseparable part, of the whole television production process.

 

Members of the NMC, led by the Chairman, Nana Kwasi Gyan-Appenteng said this in Accra yesterday in response to a proposal by the Ministry of Communication for the formation of a company to be called Central Digital Transmission Company Limited (CDTCL), with both the CEO and the Board being appointed by the President.

 

Nana Gyan-Appenteng said it was the view of the NMC that, such an appointment by the President could violate Article 168 of the Constitution which vested the appointment of the Boards and CEOs of the State-Owned media in the NMC in consultation with the President.

That position, has said had been confirmed by a 2000 Supreme Court ruling in the case, NMC versus Attorney General (Writ no.2/96 delivered on January 26, 2000) he said.

 

He said since the television programmes of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporations would be transmitted via the digital platform, the Ministry of Communication’s proposal on appointments to the CDTCL would violate Article 167(C) that mandated the NMC to insulate the State-Owned media from governmental control.

 

“Apart from violating these specific constitutional provisions, the proposal goes against the spirit of the Constitution and our nation’s drive to achieve even greater freedom and independence of the media,” he said.

Nana Gyan-Appenteng said there was the need to adhere to the spirit and letter of the Constitution in order to remove any temptations that the new situation would present to any government. “By way of illustration, now that we are all going to transmit through a single channel if a bad government seeks to shut down any media entity or attack the television domain, all it needs is to deny access to the single transmitter.

 

“An independent company appointed by the NMC makes that more difficult,” he said.

 

He said the framers of the 1992 Constitution wisely foresaw situations and scenarios such as the current one and thus created the NMC to prevent a throwback to the pre-1992 media culture in Ghana adding that the proposal by the Ministry of Communications would send the nation back to that era.

 

Nana Gyan-Appenteng said before coming out with the issue on public platform, the NMC engaged Ghanaians and other stakeholders who asked the Commission to defend the Constitutional provision on the freedom and independence of the media rigorously.

BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI AND EVANGEL KELVIN AINOO

 

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