The National Media Commission has cautioned owners of radio stations in Bawku to adopt stronger gatekeeping measures to ensure that persons with interests in the conflict do not hijack radio stations to foment trouble.
This was contained in a statement issued and signed by Mr George Sarpong, Executive Secretary of NMC.
According to him, within the next two weeks, all owners of radio stations in the Bawku area were to submit to the Commission clear measures they have put in place to ensure professionalism.
“Owners must be careful who they recruit as programme hosts and which persons are invited as guests on discussion programmes. Owners must remember that they bear ultimate responsibility for whatever happens on their networks,” he said
Mr Sarpong said the increasing weaponisation of the media in the Bawku conflict had become a major source of concern for the Commission, adding that, the past couple of weeks, the NMC had noted an escalation in incidences of hate speech, disinformation and incitement on radio of a scale and scope that pose a clear and present danger to the Bawku community.
“Some of the cases are closely reminiscent of the egregious misbehaviour of Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) in the Rwandan genocide and so as a media regulator, the National Media Commission believes that our collective search for peace must be anchored on a proper balance between the right of radio stations to broadcast and the legitimate need of society to protect public order as envisaged under articles 162,163 and 164 of the Constitution (1992),” he said.
He advised media houses outside Bawku to be very circumspect in their coverage of the conflict and also keep in mind the prosecution of journalists at the International Criminal Court and advise themselves accordingly.
Mr Sarpong said the Media Foundation for West Africa and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters’ Association have offered to assist any broadcaster in Bawku who may require assistance to review their gatekeeping and professional systems.
He said it was important for stakeholders to understand that at the core of the tension between free expression and public safety is the need to seek the public good.
BY TIMES REPORTER