NMC to regulate religious broadcasting

Mr Gyan Apenten  (inset) addrssing the media

Mr Gyan Apenten (inset) addrssing the media

A policy guideline is in the offing to regulate the influx of ‘religious’ excesses on the Ghanaian media landscape, the National Media Commission (NMC) has announced.

The document expected to be completed by end of this year would serve as benchmark for religious broadcasting in the country to bring sanity onto the airwaves.

“These guidelines will be adopted by all media houses to ensure that pastors, mallams and other religious leaders abide by such standards, failure of which may attract some sanctions,” Apostle Abraham Ofori-Kuragu, a member of the NMC in charge of Christian groups disclosed to the media.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a symposium in Accra on Wednesday ahead of this year’s World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).

The annual event marked every May 3, is to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world to defend the media from attacks on their independence while paying tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

This year’s WPFD is on the theme; “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law”, and will cover issues of media and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public.

Apostle Ofori-Kuragu lamented the proliferation of religious activities in the media which was increasingly becoming ‘dangerous’ for the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian hence the need for tough measures to sanitise the industry.

“We are seeing money doubling going on in the full glare of television cameras, signs of over zealousness, people extorting money and taking advantage of others, families being divided and people put in constant fear and this is affecting the vulnerable in the society.

“In partnership with other stakeholders, we are coming up with this religious broadcasting guideline by December to see how best we can handle this situation so that it does not affect our democracy and the current peace we are enjoying in this country,” the NMC board member stated.

Apostle Ofori-Kuragu appealed to the media to collaborate with the Commission to ensure that the objective of the policy was realised to deepen the country’s development.

The Chairman of the NMC, Mr Kwasi Gyan Appenteng, called for collaborative efforts to ensure the independence of the media in the face of emerging threats, adding “the first 35 years of independence of Ghana was difficult for journalists but today the story is quiet different but we must not be satisfied with where we are.

“We must put measures in place to ensure that we protect journalists in the discharge of their duties and deepen our independence. We are free but not independent,” the NMC Chair said.

Mr Tirso Dos Santos, the Head of Office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Ghana lauded Ghana for its recent achievement as the 23rd country worldwide to have a free media.

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