Minister underscores government’s commitment to laying Broadcasting Bill before Parliament
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information has underscored the government’s commitment to ensuring that the Broadcasting Bill is laid before Parliament for passage into law.
The Broadcasting Bill is seeking to regulate the broadcasting space in Ghana.
The Minister said some correspondence he received from the Attorney-General on the 2024 re-drafted version of the Broadcasting Bill indicated that there were still issues that were being raised for their consideration and response.
Mr Oppong Nkumah made the revelation on Wednesday during a panel discussion at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) stakeholder engagement and research report launch on the theme, “Ensuring Accountability in the Governance of Media and the Internet.”
The Minister said the reason for which there was going to be a delay in the laying of the Broadcasting Bill before Parliament was not for want of political will.
He reiterated that the government had demonstrated enough commitment in terms of laws to deal with free expression.
He said the Right to Information (RTI) Act and its implementation story, so far was an example.
He said the reason for the delay in laying the Bill before Parliament was that the last draft had been overtaken by some events; citing that the last draft defined broadcasting only to refer to television, however, currently there were all other forms of technology-led broadcasting.
Mr Oppong Nkumah also noted that there were some other issues that also overtook the last draft, such as issues of responsibilities for moderating contents.
“So, if you are on radio and television, broadcasting applies to you and you are responsible for moderating the content that comes out,” he stated.
“How about if you move that content onto your Facebook page and somebody wrote under those posts to make comments you will not allow on radio and television be they defamatory or ethnic inciting, do the same rules apply? Shouldn’t they apply?”
He said there had been several issues that had overtaken the initial draft of the Broadcasting Bill, which they have carefully gone through with a lot of stakeholders to get a certain common position.
“What are the responsibilities of the international bodies’ social media platforms when it comes to ensuring that some sort of content, which ordinarily you would not allow on television and radio in Ghana is being posted on their platforms? Should there be liability or the media house that is operating that platform bear liability? He questioned.
He said they had dealt with about 80 per cent of the issues raised in the Bill and that the Attorney General wants them to tidy it up, so that we take it before Parliament.
Mr Oppong Nkumah said he would not be rushed to put out a timeline now for the laying of the Broadcasting Bill before Parliament and that it was important that they got everybody or the key stakeholders to align on the key parts that need to be addressed, after which they would lay it before Parliament.
Mr Nuamah Eshun Fameye, Chief Operating Officer, Media General, in his submission said: “Operating the media space is not an easy business; it should be run professionally. There is a direct correlation between content, ratings, and revenue-earning capacity.”
Dr Theodora Dame Adjin-Tettey, Senior Lecturer, Department of Media, Language and Communication, Durban University of Technology, in virtual contribution noted that she was for media and information literacy.
“People should be exposed to how to fact-check information, which will prevent the effects of misinformation. It’s best not to share information one is not sure of.”
Dr Eliasu Mumuni, Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication, Innovation and Technology, University of Development Studies, and one of the authors of the research, in his presentation said ensuring accountability in media governance and the internet was crucial for upholding the democratic principles of developing countries like Ghana.
He said the study found that a few of the existing big media houses were on the drive of conglomeration to capture the media market share in Ghana.
He said with the higher penetration of the internet and the use of social media, there was no regulatory regime that would enhance a better digital landscape.
Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, Director of Programmes and Advocacy, CDD-Ghana, in his welcome address said the content credibility of news sources was more than an asset, while media supporters and owners must work to ensure that their work was sustainable.