The Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa Suleimana Braimah has criticised the Minister for Communication Ursula Owusu-Ekufful for writing directly to GBC to shut down three of its channels on Digital Terrestrial Television platform.
He says the letter should have been directed to or had the National Media Commission copied since it is the regulating body of the State Broadcaster.
He also noted that the Communication Minister did not have the authority to issue a sixty-day ultimatum to the GBC to release its channels, as it was not a court of law.
The minister in a letter to the Director-General for the State Broadcaster explained the move was to free up space on the DTT platform which she argues is full.
She has also expressed displeasure with the GBC for not responding to their letter, but rather running to the NMC.
Speaking on the Morning Starr Thursday, Mr Braimah said “and if it is not because somebody wants to show power, everyone knows for example that the NMC is the body that exercises supervision and control over the state broadcaster. It appoints the governing board, it appoints by extension the Director-General, and anytime there is a vacancy, whether its the board or the Director-General, its the NMC that carries that mandate of ensuring that these vacancies are filled.”
“So, why wouldn’t the minister write to the NMC to draw the attention of the commission to the fact that ‘this is the challenge we are having and therefore this is the decision that we are proposing that is taken to ensure that GBC at least gives us one or two of its channels.’ Rather than writing directly to GBC as a directive and asking them to consolidate all their programmes on six channels, to three channels within 60 days, why, are you a court?”
Mr Braimah added “I don’t think we should live in a democracy where ministers can give such directives to entities that are not within their remit and entities that are supposed to be independent and managed by independent institutions.”
“Otherwise if we go on like this, next time what we will hear will be that ‘GBC don’t broadcast this content, broadcast that content. Remove this editorial and put this person there.’ I don’t think that is how we build democracy and I don’t think that is how we want to build public service broadcasting,” he noted.