The National Media Commission (NMC) has prevented the Ministry of Communications from limiting the channels of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and Crystal TV on Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform.
According to the NMC, the directive usurps its mandate, hence cannot be approved.
The NMC also explained that the directive will breach provisions of the country’s Constitution if it is allowed.
“The Commission wishes to state clearly that the directive given to GBC and Crystal TV by the Minister for Communications purports to usurp the constitutional mandate and authority of the National Media Commission and same cannot be obliged under our current constitutional dispensation,” NMC said in a statement signed by its Chairman, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo, and sighted by Citi News.
“It is the view of the Commission that any action by any entity which culminates into limiting or depriving the media of the use of public resources, legitimately allocated to them undermines their capacity to serve the nation as anticipated by the Constitution.”
The Minister for Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in a June 26 letter directed GBC to reduce its channels from six to three.
She, in a separate letter, ordered Crystal TV to also limit its three channels on the DTT platform.
The Minister gave both media houses 60 days to comply with the directive.
Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful defended the order, noting that it had become unsustainable for the government to be covering the cost of GBC’s channels on the National Digital Terrestrial Television platform.
Unhappy with the directive, both media houses petitioned the National Media Commission to intervene.
NMC explains further
In its ruling to overturn the Communications Ministry’s order, the National Media Commission explained that it has the mandate to protect the state-owned media from any political interference.
“The Commission’s mandate to insulate the state-owned media, therefore, enjoins the Commission to protect the Board, Management and staff of GBC from political interference as well as safeguard and preserve the entirety of state-owned media facilities, assets and other resources from governmental control. Political control can emanate from overruns on the right of the Board and Management to prudently manage the resources of the Public Broadcaster in accordance with sound public administration principles.”
NMC further noted that any action by any entity which culminates into limiting or depriving the media of the use of public resources legitimately allocated to them undermines their capacity to serve the nation as anticipated by the Constitution.
It further assured that it will perform its “constitutionally-mandated guardian role with a high sense of dedication, alertness and patriotism”.