Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Briamah says he supports the passage of the Broadcasting Bill since it can ensure media freedom while promoting ethical content.
According to him, he and his outfit will not oppose a bill that will not only promote the independence of the media but will also ensure that it is regulated to avoid the danger of media freedom.
The purpose of the Bill is to provide comprehensive legislation on broadcasting services regulated by the National Media Commission and the National Communications Authority in a manner consistent with the Constitution.
“My day job is to ensure the freedom of the media…to ensure capacity building so on and so forth. I will be the last person to indulge in anything that is intended to either censor or undermine the freedom that the constitution guarantees our media.”
But in his view, “an unregulated media space can in itself be more dangerous to media freedom than anything. That then eventually leads us to chaos.”
Speaking in an earlier interview on Joy FM Friday, he revealed that the passage of the bill is long overdue for a country that has enjoyed almost 30 years of independent broadcasting.
He told Top Story host, Evans Mensah, that “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 freedom can be handled 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 by two teenagers for quick money rituals.
Sulemana Braimah indicated that, although there is some existing legislation such as the Electronic Communications Act among others, they are not “adequate enough to deal with the circumstances 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 it 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.”