May 9, 2021

Passage of Broadcasting Bill long overdue – Sulemana Braimah

Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah has commended government for the public dialogue on the Broadcasting Bill expected to be passed into law should it be approved.

Speaking on Joy FM Friday, he revealed that the drafting of the bill’s passage is long overdue as a country that has enjoyed almost 30 years of independent broadcasting.

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He told Top Story host, Evans Mensah “it is quite surprising that the nation is yet to finalise a framework that will respond to what is provided for in Article 164. According to him, there needs to be legislation to ensure that the freedoms are qualified appropriately.

“I think it is long overdue. It ought to have been in place way back since we started the whole idea of liberalising the airwaves and therefore having a lot of media organizations coming into being,” he said.

His comments follow concerns raised by Ghanaians on the absence of a legislation to check media content following the gruesome murder of 10-year-old Ishmael Mensah by two teenagers for quick money rituals.

Mr Sulemana Braimah indicated although there is some existing legislation such as the Electronic Communications Act among others, they are “adequate enough to deal with the exigencies of our time.”

For him, despite attempts to put out a broadcasting framework, past governments have done a disservice to the country by dwelling on self-regulation, which according to him has not gone quite well. Even if they did he says would not warrant the absence of a broadcasting bill.

“As a country, we haven’t done quite well at self-regulating. Of course there have been attempts over the years, the GJA, GIBA. I think all these bodies have made attempts to have policies to self-regulate.

“But the reality is that even if we were doing quite well with self-regulation, we would still need such a comprehensive broadcast bill and in that case, what we say is that we only resort to the law when we have failed to self-regulate and therefore even if we were successful, it wouldn’t have been that as a result of being successful, there wouldn’t be the need for the kind of law that is being contemplated or being worked on,” he added.

He intimated that some Francophone counties like Togo, Cote d’Ivoire have a solid self-regulatory body because they have support from the state in terms of resources.

According to him, Ghana is lagging behind in the implementation of such a bill. Nonetheless, he says “better late than never” in ensuring that the country has a framework to guide and guard the sector.

He, therefore, lauded the Information Ministry for taking up the mantle to ensure the country also has a broadcasting law to regulate all institutions in the sector.

“I think that the process that is ongoing is really perfect and I must commend the Ministry of information for the participatory nature that this process is being engaged and at the end of the day, I’m quite confident that we would have a legislation that would respond appropriately to our needs,” he said.

Source: Ghana News

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