We’ve not sold our digital channels–GBC

The management of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) has dismissed claims of selling off some of its digital channels to private investors without recourse to due procedures.

The channels in question are the GTV Govern, GTV Life, Obonu TV and GTV Sports Plus.

At a press briefing in Accra yesterday to set the records straight, the management insisted that no assets of the corporation had been sold, pointing out, that a said arrangement with KBL, a privately-owned company under the JOSPONG Group of Companies, was only “an extension of an existing partnership with Metro TV”, which GBC already owned shares in.

“This is just a relationship we have, not a sale. We have not sold any GBC assets to any entity and we don’t have that authority to sell. Every asset here belongs to government; so if we are to sell, we need approval from government to do so,” Acting Director-General of the Corporation, Mr Augustus Yamson stated.

According to him, the decision to extend the partnership with Metro TV to operate a new Akan station (Adwenpa TV) on the GTV Govern platform was in line with implementing a five-year strategic plan to commercialise some of the state broadcaster’s stations to make it much viable and efficient.

“We have same relationship with JOY FM as far back as 1995 and METRO TV, as far as 1997, this is not a new concept management is bringing. We have six channels and all of them do public service, but we cannot continue to use all those channels for public service.

In our strategic plan, it states clearly, that we should use two channels for public service and the four for commercialisation and the GBC Act allows us to go commercial, so we are only following the Act and our strategic plan,” Mr Yamson maintained.

The Acting Director-General indicated that GBC had signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which outlines the equities of both companies in that, while KBL provides equipment and content, the state broadcaster brings unto the table $350,000 equity, personnel and content.

“For the rest of the channels, we have not even done any discussions with the exception of Obonu TV that someone has expressed interest to collaborate with us. GBC is not doing this in isolation but in firm adherence to our five-year strategic plan, which permits us to rationalise our channels such that if we see two channels performing same functions, we could combine them to make it efficient.

“That is why when we saw GBC 24 and GTV Govern doing same current affairs, we thought it wise to merge them and free one to host the new KBL channel,” he argued.

Mr Yamson assured that management together with the board of GBC “will not take any decision that will not be to the benefit of workers”, promising that staff would not be redundant under the arrangement.

Director of Legal Services, John Kwame Waja held that “GBC must stick religiously to our five-year strategic plan if we want to transform and be much viable in the ever changing media space.

“Per our Act of establishment, we can go into commercialisation and we won’t sit down for GBC to remain the same after 80 years. Broadcasting is now market driven and we are willing to go all out to build on what previous management has done to get GBC to the standard of BBC.”

Some unionised staff of GBC on Tuesday, were up in arms against the management over alleged moves to sell some of the corporation’s channels to private investors.

They alleged that aside the sale of GTV Govern to KBL, plans were also in place to sell GTV Sports Plus to Star Times, a Chinese-owned company and Obonu TV to the McDan Group of Companies.

Amidst hoisting of red flags and strong worded banners to protest the decision, the union petitioned the National Media Commission (NMC) to intervene in the matter, citing among others procurement breaches in the deals.


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