The number of broadcasting channels operated by the state broadcaster GBC and privately-owned Crystal TV remains intact following President Akufo-Addo’s directive to the Communications Minister to suspend moves to reduce their operations on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform.
The National Media Commission (NMC) which was petitioned on the matter by various agencies said the move by the Communications Minister amounted to government control of the media space.
The minority in Parliament said the NMC’s decision has vindicated them after numerous calls for the ministry to refrain from the move.
However, Ningo Prampram MP Sam George told JoyNews July 23 that the President is only riding on the back of the NMC.
He said, “President Akufo-Addo heard about this and knew about this since it broke in the media for almost two weeks. He failed to take action. Yesterday the National Media Commission wrote on the matter. The president’s letter is political chicanery, its political football. It’s of no consequence.
“Because when the president should have acted, he failed to act. This is a decision of the National media commission and it upholds the position that I and the minority have held on this matter that the Minister acted unconstitutionally.”
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) was among a host of other entities that petitioned the National Media Commission to look into the Communications Ministers’ directive.
Its Executive Secretary, Sulemana Braimah wants the NMC to go a step further and insulate the DDT platform from political control and management.
“What the minister purported to do was amounted to a usurpation of the mandate of the National Media Commission and to that extent the directive cannot be obliged. I think that is very categorical and it even goes on to talk about the management of the DTT platform which some of us have always raised concerns about.
“And so I think there is no other way to interpret the decision of the National Media Commission apart from the fact that it says ‘look the Minister’s directive cannot be complied with’,” he said.