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NMC Must Be A Proactive Force In The Protection Of Media Rights – Sam George4 min read

NMC Must Be A Proactive Force In The Protection Of Media Rights – Sam George<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">4</span> min read</span>
  A member of the National Media Commission, Mr Sam Nartey George, has said that the Commission must be proactive in the protection of the rights of media practitioners. According to him, it is the duty of the Commission, per the provisions of Article 167 of the 1992 Constitution, to uphold the tenets of independence of the media. Article 167 of the 1992 Constitution prescribes the Commission’s functions to include; “to promote and ensure the freedom and independence of the media for mass communication or information and to insulate the state-owned media from governmental control.” “As a Commissioner of the NMC representing the Minority, I uphold the tenets of the independence of the media. The NMC must be a proactive force in the protection of media rights. These rights must be enforced using due process,” Mr George stressed on Thursday November, 30, 2023. The Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram’s comments were in reaction to a suit filed by the Board of Directors of Onua TV/FM against the National Media Commission for threatening to have the frequency authorization of the two stations suspended. On Tuesday 14 November, 2023, the National Media Commission (NMC) wrote to Media General, owners of Onua TV/FM, complaining of a broadcast simultaneously carried by the two media outlets. In the same letter, the NMC imposed sanctions on the two stations without asking for their side of the story. Subsequently, the NMC wrote to the Advertisers Association of Ghana, threatening to suspend the frequency authorization of Onua TV/FM. The Commission further wrote to the National Communication Authority to suspend the licence of the aforementioned media outlets. Mr. Sam George noted that even if Onua TV/FM or any of its journalists has flouted any rule, how such a matter is handled is important. “I cannot in good faith, say that the NMC has followed all the due process in this matter. There are certainly issues Onua has to answer, but two wrongs do not make a right,” he pointed out. Earlier, the Board of Directors of Onua TV/FM, said that it suspects the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission wants to interfere in the editorial independence of TV and radio stations owned by the conglomerate. The Board said it considers this as a major threat to the media in Ghana and must be resisted. “We suspect that his real intention is to interfere with the editorial independence of all the stations in the Media General Group. This, we believe, is a major threat to the media in Ghana and must not be allowed to happen,” the Board Chairman, Mr. Kojo Yankah wrote in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Commission dated 29th November, 2023. The Board of Onua TV/FM stressed that, “The NMC was established by the Constitution “to promote and ensure the freedom and independence of the media for mass communication and information” and we will take all steps necessary to ensure that the NMC is not rather used to trample on media independence for political or any other purposes.” The letter by the Board of  Onua TV/FM sought to complain to the Chairman of the NMC Board, about a letter written by the Executive Secretary to the Advertisers Association of Ghana. “The attention of the Board of Media General Ghana (Ltd) has been drawn to a letter from the Executive Secretary of NMC dated 28th November 2023 to the Advertisers Association of Ghana, AAG, in which the NMC Executive Secretary has taken a rather unprecedented step to notify them that any further steps that they are taking to advertise on Onua TV and Onua FM are done at their own risk,” a part of the letter read. According to the Onua TV/FM Board, it “takes a serious view of this matter. This illegal action follows other illegal steps taken by the NMC which we had responded to earlier. We addressed a copy of our letter dated 27th November 2023 to you and have attached another copy to this letter for ease of reference.” “The Media General Board takes serious exception to the actions and posture of the Executive Secretary and would ask the NMC to take immediate steps to regularize all the missteps of the Executive Secretary in targeting Onua TV and Onua FM for purposes known to him,” the Board urged.