Thursday, 22 June 2017

We must Never Give The National Media Commission Or Any Other Institution The Power To Review Or Ban Media Content In Ghana

There seems to be a consensus amongst most ordinary Ghanaians that as a people we must not allow what are public resources, television frequencies, to be used to show pornography on television screens in our country.

It is a positive development - for we must do everything we can to stop the morals of young people in our country from being corrupted.

In the final analysis, however the issue of pornography on free-to-air television is eventually resolved by Ghanaian society, it is important that a specific law is passed by Parliament  to ban the broadcast of pornography by free-to-air television stations in Ghana. No other institution should have that power.

Furtheremore,  under no circumstances should the issue of banning pornography on free-to-air television be mixed up with the dangerous notion of giving the power to review and approve media content to unelected officials in Ghana - which hypothetically constitutes handing over a potential building-block to deny Ghanaians the right to freedom of expression to tomorrow's tyranny.

There are sufficient remedies on our statute books available to those who are libeled and slandered by journalists and media houses. And public opprobrium is a powerful antidote to yellow journalism, after all,  is it not?

It is said that  the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. A free and plural media ensures that. For that reason, the media in Ghana must remain unfettered always, till the very end of time.

We must never forget that brave individuals in the media, such as Tommy Thompson, P. V. Ansah, Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt and Kabral Blay-Amihere, fought to end the culture of silence that prevailed under the Provisional  National Defence Council (PNDC) military regime, at considerable personal risk.

Some - such as Tommy Thompson - even lost their lives in that fight for freedom of expression under the PNDC regime.

Let us jealously guard our right to speak our minds freely on the airwaves of radio and television stations and in the print media.We must never allow powerful people to manipulate the system to deny Ghanaians the right to speak their minds freely.  Ever.

That fundamental human right to freely speak our minds is a bulwark against tyranny.

Let us treasure it always - and prevent those who would enslave us from taking it away from us through clever ruses such as giving the National Media Commission (NMC) the power to review and approve media content.

Today, we  might be blessed to have good and decent individuals who are genuinely  committed to democracy constituting the membership of the NMC.

However, who can assure us that in the distant future, the NMC will not become a tool for powerful people seeking to control the media - and stop journalists and ordinary people from freely speaking their minds on national issues?

We should never give the power to review and ban media  content to either the NMC or any other institution in Ghana. Full stop.
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