President orders Communications Minister to suspend directive to GBC to reduce channel on DTT platform

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday ordered the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful to suspend a directive it issued to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), requesting the state broadcaster to reduce its number of channels on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DDT) platform.

The order to Mrs Owusu-Ekuful was contained in a press statement issued in Accra yesterday by the Director of Communications at the Office of the Presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin.

“The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, yesterday, July 23, 2020, directed the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, to suspend the implementation of the directives to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).”

It added that, the directive by the President was “in connection with the reduction of GBC’s channels on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DDT) platform, pending further consultation with stakeholders,” the statement said.

The Communications Minister had asked the GBC to reduce its six channels on the DDT platform to three, in a letter dated June 26, 2020, and addressed to the Corporation’s Director General, Professor Amin Alhassan.

This was however received with outrage by institutions including the National Media Commission (NMC), the media regulating and monitoring body and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the parent body of journalists in the country, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) among others.

In a statement issued on the matter by the NMC on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Commission, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo while bemoaning the instruction, indicated that, it would not oblige to any order which would undermine its responsibilities.

“The Commission wishes to state clearly that the directive given to Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and Crystal TV by the Minister of Communications purports to usurp the constitutional mandate and authority of the National Media Commission and same cannot be obliged under our current constitutional dispensation,” it said.

The GJA and the MFWA had both on Monday, July 20, raised concern over the same matter and called on the NMC and other stakeholders to ensure the termination on the minister would not implement its intension

Also, in response to the Mrs Owusu-Ekuful’s order, the leadership of GBC petitioned the NMC to intervene, explaining that, the directive would impose serious budgetary and human resource challenges on their operations.

The statement also noted that, the minister’s directive and explanations provided thereof, were at variance to provisions in the 1992 Constitution, which guarantees freedom and independence of the media and the insulation of the state broadcaster from any government control.


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