THE newly-built Volta Press Centre in Ho was inaugurated on Friday with a renewed call for a broadcasting law in the country.
Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), who performed the ceremony, pointed out that the absence of such an enactment has made it difficult to regulate the broadcasting market.
For instance, he said that newspaper publishers were constantly fighting radio and television stations for bastardising their products by reading virtually all the stories on sponsored newspaper review programmes, while television stations were diffused with foreign materials of no utility value.
On a positive side, Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh said that media pluralism had empowered the ordinary Ghanaian to contribute to national discourse.
The Chairman of the NMC touched on the recent closure of some radio stations in the country for defaulting payment of their frequency allocation fees and said that matters of freedom of expression must be handled with caution.
“There are some people whose only sources of information are these stations, but we must accept collective failure.
“Public bodies set up to manage frequency in the name of our people have obligations not to cause disruptions and individuals who are fortunate to be assigned such national assets have to live up to their obligations to the state and public,” he insisted.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh maintained that for the journalist, freedom and responsibility could not be separated, since anyone without freedom could not be called upon to exercise his or her responsibility, while those who acted irresponsibly undermined freedom.
“Without reliability, one cannot be an effective journalist,” he added.
Earlier, Kafui Kanyi, Chairman of the Volta Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) said the press centre, the first and only such facility outside Accra, bore ample testimony of the society’s faith in the media and readiness to invest in it for good governance and rapid socio-economic development.
He said that the centre would serve as a secretariat for the Volta and Oti chapters of the association, and a rallying point for all media practitioners.
“Very soon, we will have conference facilities and transit quarters for journalists on the first floor,” he told the gathering.
Affail Monney, President of the GJA, commended the regional association for the monumental achievement, saying, “Volta GJA has become a trailblazer and standard measure of all the regional associations.”
Naomi Mattos, Press Attache of the US Embassy in Accra, pledged support for the GJA to ensure a strong and vibrant media front in the country.
The Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, said the government attached great importance to the media, adding that “the press centre is the result of the good collaboration between the Volta GJA and the Volta Regional Coordinating Council.
Madam Elizabeth Ohene, a seasoned journalist and former minister-of-state chaired the function.
FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO