He promised to use his office to champion the course that would help diversify the corporation and make it more vibrant in the media industry.
Mr. Abdul-Hamid made this remark in Accra yesterday when he paid a working visit to the New Times Corporation (NTC), the publishers of The Ghanaian Times and The Spectator newspapers to familiarise himself with its operations.
He, together with the management of the ministry, was taken round the office of the NTC by the Managing Director, Ms. Carol Annang and senior management staff to inspect activities at various departments of the corporation.
According to Mr. Abdul-Hamid, it was time to outlaw the concept of state-owned media and the practice of being allegiant to government business by giving such media houses the liberty to operate fully without any influence from the government.
He therefore promised to lead the advocacy to divest state-owned media from the influence of government and make them entirely independent.
“This whole concept of state-owned media is abnormally in a democratic dispensation. In a truly democratic state, there should be nothing like state media because there is nowhere in the civilised world that government owned media houses and it should be the same with our country,” he stressed.
According to Mr. Abdul-Mustapha, the idea behind government owning media houses was purely an act of “autocratic, dictatorship and communism governance” which sought to stifle information and control public discourse.
He said it was against such background that the National Media Commission was set up to do away with the government influence on media houses that were established by the state so they could independently inform and educate Ghanaians.
But, Mr. Abdul-Hamid said such vision was yet to be realised as successive governments still had considerable control over the operations of such media outlets.
He assured of his commitment to champion the course of divesting government’s manipulations in the affairs of newspapers and other media houses which hitherto yield to the influence of government.
“I want us to start this conversation going forward that will allow us to democratise to give way for media operatives to be completely independent of the state,” he stated.
Mr. Abdul-Hamid also promised to lead the initiative of reviewing the law that established the New Times Corporation.
The Managing Director of NTC, Ms. Carol Annang said NTC as an institution were saddled with some challenges despite its significant presence in the media presence.
She mentioned debt as one of the several challenges that had bedeviled the NTC over the past few decades with its clients, especially state institutions failing to pay their debts to the corporation.
“When such an obligation is given to us, there is the need to give the support we require to capitalise and restructure to become more competitive. This begins with our debtors honouring their debts to us,” she said.
Ms. Annang called on the government to reinvest in the New Times Corporation and support its vision and plan to diversify to make it more competitive in the industry.
The Editor of The Ghanaian Times, Mr. David Agbenu commended the minister on his visit, stressing that the visit spoke volume of the importance government attached to the activities of NTC.
He, however, urged the ministry to be critical and offer support and protection to reporters, who cover state functions.
The Editor of Spectator, Ms. Tina Aforo-Yeboah underscored the importance of the Ministry of Information and urged the ministry to continue to support media houses in the country to inform and educate the public.
By Charles Amankwa