Regional News of 2014-08-04

Some radio stations undermine sanctity of news — Gyan-Apenteng

The President of the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW), Mr Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, has observed that several Akan radio stations are undermining the sanctity of news broadcasting.

He said such stations had introduced linguistic embellishment meant to turn factual news into farcical comedy.

Mr Gyan-Apenteng made the observation at a lecture to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in Accra last Friday.

The theme for the lecture was “Broadcasting: friends or foe."

Mr Gyan-Apenteng said it was astonishing to observe the speed with which the Akan language was being degraded by radio stations “because we do not insist on the high standards we profess to have."

He said the claims of broadcast pluralism in Ghana were undermined by the absence of clear language policy.

Mr Gyan-Apenteng said in some jurisdictions with broadcasting regulations, there were clear guidelines on language use.

He bemoaned the lack of women in broadcasting and said that the situation undermined suggestions that the media was pluralistic.

Making reference to a research initiated by the Media Foundation for West African and Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), he stated that out of 578 programmes monitored on 24 radio stations in November last year, 345 out of 1,369 were women.

The monitoring, which covered moderators, discussants and interviewees revealed that the number of women had dropped compared to that of 2013.

The lack of access to the media by women, according to him, was a major factor responsible for the low participation of women in politics.

Mr Gyan-Apenteng raised concerns about the current constitution of the National Media Commission (NMC), which excluded, for example, direct representation from institutions such as the Institute of African Studies and the National Theatre.

“It appears that the framers of the 1992 Constitution were more concerned with the regulation of the news media than the broad sweep of the mass media,” he said.

He called for immediate steps to be taken to ensure the implementation of a licence regime that would meet the purposes of supporting public service broadcasting. “Without a proper fee, the public cannot expect to receive public service quality broadcasting.”

Mr Gyan-Apenteng also stated that the National Communication Authority (NCA) should encourage the establishment of more community radio stations and ensure that those licensed operated within the principles of community radio ethos.

He advocated the establishment of a broadcasting foundation to manage a fund that would sustain the ideals of best practices in broadcasting through the distribution of broadcasting materials, especially documentaries.

He stated that the work done by the GBC was commendable, adding “despite its difficulties, GBC continues to expand its operation and modernise them at a pace that is good enough to keep in touch with international standards."

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