Law lecturer slams ‘crippling’ NMC media law
A law lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee, says the Content Authorization Law of the National Media Commission (NMC) meant to control program contents of media houses is needless.
She said if the NMC wants to control the issue of the bad content of media houses, it could use other means other than pushing for a new law.
The Supreme Court on Thursday, April 21 placed an interlocutory injunction - a court order to prevent the NMC from carrying out the implementation of the Content Authorization Law.
The suit challenging the law was filed by the Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association (GIBA) which argued aspects of the new law contradict the press freedom captured in the 1992 Constitution.
The seven-member jury made up of Justice Sophia Akufo, Justice Akoto Bamfo, Justice Baffoe Bonney and other four Justices’ issued the injunction on the ground of balance of convenience and hardship.
Thus, NMC should weigh the circumstances so that the new law will not oppress the media houses.
Speaking on the Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis program, NEWSFILE, Beeri Kasser-Tee says it is important for NMC to care about contents of the media but argued the approached must not be seen as restricting their work.
She says the NMC could address the issue through self-regulation. Thus allowing the media houses to ensure that whatever program they feed the public with is in the interest of the public.
They could also use seminars, workshops to give fresher courses to journalists, she said.
Reacting to the judgment, Minister of State at the Presidency, Abdul Rashid Pelpuo decried the proliferation of pornographic materials in the country.
“Can we allow a situation where moral conducts degenerate into a situation where people broadcast a raped girl as though we don’t care?” he asked.
He, however, charged the NMC to exercise restraint in its attempt to address the issue saying “You don’t have to cure an ill by creating ills in the society”.
“The introduction [of a new law] must be to the taste of the people”, he said. The Content Authorization Law is meant to provide protection for minors, disallow the occult and glamorous pictures, and helps to regulate phone-ins on media platforms.
The law gives the NMC the power to monitor the airwaves to identify issues of the breach which attracts some form of punishment from the media regulator.
In the worst case, a media house could be shut down or be made to pay a fine of ?60,000 or individuals could get a jail term of 10 years.