A National Stakeholders’ Validation Workshop, which aimed to address the challenges identified in the Broadcasting Bill and to fine-tune it for submission to Cabinet for approval, has taken place in Accra.

The workshop brought together experts in broadcast monitoring, technical solutions providers and influential media professionals to share their views on what they think is the future of the broadcast industry in Ghana.

It was organized by the Ministry of Communications (MoC) in collaboration with the National Media Commission (NMC).

In an address to open the workshop, the Minister for Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, noted that the Bill provided a framework to ensure that persons entrusted with the radio spectrum resource operated in a manner to safeguard public order, public morality, national security and, generally, use the resource in the best public interest.

Dr Boamah gave the assurance that the Bill had a strong legal basis, was in the best public interest and in line with international best practice.

He said concerns raised about the legality of the Bill in view of Article 162 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana were addressed by Article 164 of the Constitution.

He explained that while Article 162 provides that “There shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a license as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media for mass communication or information,” Article 164 subjects Article 162 to laws that are reasonably required in the interest of national security, public order and public morality, among others.

In a statement, Mr Kwesi Agyeman, President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association (GIBA) said any review of the Bill should encourage mergers and acquisitions that would move the broadcasting industry into global companies.

Mr Agyeman reminded participants that digital migration was one area of broadcasting not captured in the Draft Bill.

He said there was also the need to address unlicensed and unregulated players in the industry, adding that the Bill, in its new form, should be able to sanitize the industry, where the interest of investors would be protected.

For his part, the Chairman of NMC, Amb. Kabral Blay-Amihere, noted that to be able to draft a good law, the national interest should be placed above individual interests.

Major Alfred Don-Chebe, Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, said Ghana was anxious to see the transformation of the Bill into a dependable law.

In his remarks, the President of the Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN) stressed the need for the Bill to recognize the broadcast industry as a public-private enterprise.

He disclosed that Ghana would host the Eleventh World Assembly of Community Radio Broadcasters and the second to be held in Africa from August 10th to 14th, 2015.

Welcoming participants to the meeting, the chairman for the occasion, Nene Nagai Kassa VIII, Divisional Chief of Agomeda and Paramount Chief of the Shai Traditional Area, described the forum as a perfect demonstration of a common desire and a partnership in the quest for guidelines to regulate the broadcast industry.

Source: Government of Ghana.