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GBC urged to be pro-active in collecting license fees

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GBCMr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, Minority Leader in Parliament, has urged management of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), to adopt pro-active, efficient and effective measures,  to ensure the collection of TV license fees.

He pointed out that the current mode of collection was not cost efficient, because it was more expensive to collect the fee of only 30 pesewas a year,  and that most Ghanaians have failed to pay the meager TV license fee for years.

The Legislator made the call in Accra at a lecture to mark the 80th Anniversary of GBC, on the theme: “80 Years of Dependable Broadcasting: Evolving into the Digital Age.”

Speaking on the topic: “Public Service Broadcasting in a Commercially Competitive Environment, Mr Bonsu said broadcasting remained a position of great influence over social, cultural and political life worldwide.

He said there are three conditions for the Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) to fulfill its mandate, which include the independence of the PSB through legal institutions, the PSB must be guaranteed funding to serve the needs of the public,  and be accountable to them.

Mr Bonsu said the PSB was required to be independent of government and commercial interests and must be dedicated to serving the public interest.

He said the advent of technological advancement has resulted in the decline in a number of countries with only public broadcasting, while commercial broadcasting now existed  in most countries, stressing that even though GBC engages in full commercial broadcasting, it still receives public funding.

Mr Bonsu said modern public broadcasting must be a mixture of commercial model and that of the PSB,  where the broadcaster always relied on subsidies from government,  in addition to advertising revenue to support its operation.

He said the PSB had survived by reinventing themselves to meet the challenges of new technology, competition and regulatory change.

Mr Bonsu said Germany has joint venture channels with the private sector, and access to additional advertising or subscription revenues to fund additional channels,  and services are subject to constitutional and legislative restrictions.

He said broadcasting could be financed from a number of sources, such as license fees levied on receiving sets, sales tax on receiving sets levied at the time of purchase and revenue from advertising.

Mr Richard Kwame Asante, Board Chairman of GBC, said the ceremony is an inspiring milestone to rededicate their efforts and operations to meet the expectations of stakeholders with balanced and fair reportage.

He mentioned encroachment on lands and lack of adequate funding,  as some of the challenges facing the corporation,  and called for government’s intervention in addressing the issues.

The next lecture would be held on March 26 on the topic: “GBC at 80:The Relevance of Public Service Broadcasting,” to be delivered by Professor Stephen Adei, former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.

Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission, urged government, faith groups and the media, to continue with the debate on religious and ethnicity, with a sense of circumspection and tolerance.

Source: GNA

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