General News Fri, 31 Aug 2007

GBC to be privatized?

Don't sell GBC - Dr Atuguba
Accra, Aug. 30, GNA - Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Ghana on Thursday said to sell GBC was to sell the potential voices of the Ghanaian and African people to pave the way for their complete oppression by national and global forces.

He said to sell GBC, the government of Ghana and the public should be willing to pay 0.5 percent of Value Added Tax to turn GBC into a global media giant such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Voice of America (VOA), Cable News Network (CNN) and Aljazeera. He said the distinguishing mark between GBC and other global media giants must be that the GBC should not be used as a tool of oppression but it should rather seek to serve the public interest.

Privatisation of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) was not the panacea to the problem of funding Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) in the country.

"GBC must reform, yes, but reforming GBC does not mean marketising it. The fact that the market model is the cheapest, most readily available, and the currently the most dominant, does not mean that it is the proper model for GBC".

Dr Atuguba, was delivery a lecture organized by the GBC as part of activities marking the 72nd Anniversary in Accra.


He said there was overwhelming evidence that the global marketisation of public broadcasting had not been a success story. The lecture, which was on the topic: "Financing the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation as a public broadcaster" was to discuss the role of GBC as PSB in the face of its dwindling funding from the state and the international pressure to open its doors to the "free market". Dr. Atuguba said the market had not been able to provide the quality, diversity and plurality that majority of the public desired. "We need to note that it is not only PSB, but the entire global broadcasting sector, including the marketised sector that is in dire straits," he added.

Dr Atuguba said for people to call for the improvement in the financing of PSB by putting it on the market was therefore a call for the collapse of PSB.

"We must remember that all oppression begins with the imposition of voicelessness. When there is a military coup d'etat, the first and fiercest points of contestation and the first line casualties, are the symbols and channels of the voice of the people."

Dr. Atuguba also argued that the attempt by GBC to adapt to new circumstances, especially with the explosion of both radio and television stations in the country, the corporation was at risk of destroying its philosophy and the mandate that it was set up for. He said with the fanatical and tense desire by the corporation to meet targets and pay the bills through competition could completely erode the philosophy, orientation, standards, systems, and practice of distinct and socially valuable broadcasting system that PSB should be. 30 Aug. 07

Source: GNA