The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere says the nation’s media landscape has become a “minefield threatening at various times, the peace of the nation” as journalists have relegated their crucial democratic role of informing and educating the public.
Speaking at a two day workshop for senior media practitioners and political leaders organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and under the auspices of the Ghana Political parties’ programme on Saturday, Ambassador Blay-Amihere said though the media is “faithfully living” up to one of its cardinal roles a reflecting the current state of the society, it can be found guilty of fuelling and promoting social conflict in the execution of its duty as an agenda setter.
The workshop, held in Akosombo, was chaired by Brigadier General F.A. Agyemfra (rtd), a senior fellow at IEA and had speakers such as the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana,Rev. Fred Deegbe, legal practitioner Akoto Ampaw and the Acting Director of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso.
Ambassador Blay-Amihere said, though it was arguable that the current media landscape was open to the extent that about 240 FM stations had so far been authorised and as many as 1,500 newspapers and magazines had also been registered, the ultimate responsibility lay with publishers and editors to sanitize their content.
He was however quick to add that because of the opening up of the media space, the net of blame of should be cast wide because the “list of people who can blamed is large and spread”.
He further appealed to media owners to “invest in real professionals” in their recruitment of staff in order to get good dividends for their investment.
The former Ambassador also revealed that the NMC will by August, launch a Monitoring Scheme for the electronic media in Kumasi and Accra and also embark on efforts to ensure legislative reforms that will empower the Commission to appropriately respond to new media realities that “call for some fencing to ensure that free speech and free press are balanced with greater accountability”.
Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere called on government to, as a tribute to the late President Mills, establish the Media Development Fund within the framework of the 1992 constitution, as an independent body under the auspices of the National Media Commission and not as an administrative body under the Ministry of Information.