The National Media Commission (NMC) has vowed to take on media houses that publish inflammatory content ahead of polls later this year.
The Commissions says the spate of provocative language on Ghana’s media space has reached alarming levels, a situation that endangers the nation’s peace.
Chairman of the NMC, Kwesi Gyan Appenteng, said the Commission will undertake a series of firm steps to address the situation.
“In the course of political campaigns, some people resort to the use of inflammatory, provocative, distasteful and this situation has understandably caused among the population,” he notes.
The NMC action comes in the wake of public uproar after panelists on local language radio station, Montie FM, made threats on the life of Supreme Court and High Court judges.
Following the recent threats against the judges, there are intensified calls on the Commission and other stakeholders to curb the deteriorating standards of political communication before it gets out of hand.
“We assure Ghanaians that while we are able to deal with these eruptions as they occur, we have deployed and continue to use strategies that in the long term will rid us of such abuses of our media resources especially broadcasting,” the NMC Chair said at a press conference Monday.
“It is stated that the NMC has no teeth to bite. It is true that the law encourages the NMC to use the acts of mediation and negotiation to settle disputes. But the law also anticipated changes in the nature of the media, society and the relationship between controllers of the media and the vulnerabilities inherent in a new democratic era. As a result, it also gave authority to the commission under sections 24 1B Act 449, to make a legislative instrument to provide for any matter that may be necessary for the efficient discharge of its functions. We believe that we need this law to safeguard the peace of our society,” he said.
However, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) wants the Supreme Court to interpret the Legislative Instrument, which was passed by Parliament last year.
The new L.I empowers the National Media Commission to grant content authorization to an electronic operator or revoke same if it goes contrary to the L.I.
The Content Standards Regulation 2015 also entreats all radio and television stations seek content authorization from the NMC before airing a particular programme.
The NMC has attributed the open disregard for sanity on the airwaves to the absence of content standards to regulate the activities of the media.
According to the Executive Secretary of the NMC, George Sarpong, various stakeholders have not expressed the desire to devise mechanisms that will censor the information the media churns out.