Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the government is engaging with relevant stakeholders to pass the Broadcasting Bill.
According to him, government is taking inputs from technocrats and industry experts and at the same time being ‘tactful’ in the passage of the bill so as to not create a situation where it becomes a tool for successive government to use in stifling media freedoms and free speech.
Speaking on TV3’s current affairs programme The Key Point, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said government was treading cautiously in the passage of the bill because one of the key tenets of democracy is media freedom and, according to him, it would rather be out of place to pass a bill that curtailed the freedom of the media.
“We in government or the Ministry of Information responsible for information sector policy formulation agree that there is the need to pass the broadcasting law. I and my directors and technocrats have spent about a year working on it and engaging with stakeholders, including the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), etc but doing it tactfully.
“We are being tactful because media freedoms and freedoms of expression are rights that are given to us by the constitution, and which right even though can be effected by law, must be done carefully in a manner that we don’t create a ruse for government to use it as an opportunity to stifle those freedoms,” he added.
The proliferation of spiritualists and money doublers on television channels and the recent killing of an 11-year- old boy by two teenagers, whose actions appeared to have been linked to activities of such television channels, have sparked heated debate over the lack of mechanisms to check those behind such activities in the media space.
Many are now calling for the expeditious passage of the Broadcasting Bill to regulate the media, but the minister says it has to be done without trampling on people’s rights to free speech.
This, the minister said, that the passage of the Broadcasting Bill is imminent to control media excesses in the country, giving the assurance that when Parliament resumes in May this year, the bill will be laid before the House for deliberations.
He said the bill, when passed into law, would help among other things, arrest the falling standards in Ghana’s electronic media space and ensure it embraces modern best practices.
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