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'Private media better public service providers' – Ex-GBC Director General

Wed, 3 Jan 2018 Source: classfmonline.com

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The private media in Ghana are providing “better” public service than state broadcaster Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), ex-GBC Director-General William Ampem-Darko has said.

“I watch my public service broadcast activities mostly on the commercial stations and listen to the commercial stations for what the public service broadcaster should be doing because right now, you [private media] are doing the public service broadcasting and you do it better, just for content sake, and you need content, so, you are drifting seriously into public service which is good for the development of the country.

“I don’t know if you charge or you don’t charge but you must know that as a commercial broadcaster, you are under no mandate to carry public service; you do it as you wish and sometimes you do it based upon the inclination of your media house,” Mr Ampem-Darko said in connection with a discussion on the payment of TV licence fee to the state broadcaster.

“I should congratulate the commercial broadcasters, you are doing very well because there are so many activities which GBC may not cover or cover but may not transmit after so many hours,” he told Francis Abban on Accra-based Starr FM on Wednesday, 3 January.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George, has said GBC cannot impose a levy on Ghanaians because it is now a commercial media organisation competing with private media houses for sponsorship.

According to him, to the extent that GBC has veered off its public service mandate and become a commercial broadcaster, it cannot continue to levy Ghanaians to pay TV licence fee.

The Minority lawmaker’s comment comes on the heels of the setting up of special courts by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, upon a request by the Director General of the GBC, to prosecute TV licence defaulters.

The courts, as approved by Justice Akuffo, will be located in all the 10 regions and will sit every Thursday with effect from 4 January 2018 to prosecute persons who fail to pay their TV licence.

Mr Nartey George, commenting on the issue on Wednesday, said: “Today, nobody in this country who understands the industry can call GBC a public broadcaster, they are a commercial broadcaster like every other radio and TV station.”

He added: “The public service content on GBC is carried on almost all the major private commercial broadcasters in this country. This whole TV licensing thing is being hinged on the public service that GBC offers, but I am saying that the GBC is not a public service broadcaster.

“If you look at public service broadcasters across the world, they do not give anything commercial so the GBC is no longer a public service broadcaster, it is a commercial entity that is seeking to come under the guise of public service broadcaster to impose a levy that it should not be imposing on people.”

Source: classfmonline.com
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