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Veteran journalists oppose proposal to grant High Court powers to National Media Commission

October 14, 2023
Veteran journalists oppose proposal to grant High Court powers to National Media Commission
Veteran Journalists

Several veteran journalists have expressed their opposition to proposals that would grant the (NMC) powers equivalent to those of the High Court, stating that it would be dangerous for the media.

The journalists argued that such powers could be exploited to control the media and undermine the hard-won progress made in protecting media independence during the Fourth Republic.

During a seminar organized by the on “Reviewing Ghana's 1992 Constitution,” the journalists emphasized that the freedom enjoyed by the media today was not accidental and should not be taken for granted.

The event featured speakers including Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, former Chairman of the NMC; Mr Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, journalist and communications consultant; Mr Kwesi Pratt Jnr, journalist and Editor of the Daily Insight Newspaper; and Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo, Chairman of the NMC.

Mr Blay-Amihere clarified that the NMC was not constitutionally designed to control the media, explaining that the framers of the constitution sought to avoid a return to oppressive practices.

He emphasized that he would not support transforming the NMC into an oppressive tool and highlighted the effectiveness of mediation in resolving grievances.

Mr Pratt recalled the past when journalists faced torture and even lost their lives for expressing their views. He cautioned against granting regulatory bodies the power to “control” the media and called on media practitioners to resist any such attempts.

He stressed that the framers of the Constitution were cautious about granting powers that could be used against journalists, which is why the NMC was not given such authority.

Mr Sakyi-Addo urged young people to recognize the significant progress made by the media and the foundation of the freedom enjoyed by journalists today. He asserted that the court should remain the appropriate avenue for individuals seeking legal recourse if they prefer not to approach the NMC for an amicable resolution.

Mr Sakyi-Addo emphasized that media responsibility and respect for citizens should be upheld based on moral principles rather than being enshrined in the Constitution.

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo emphasized the importance of dialogue and mediation between the NMC and media outlets to address grievances effectively. He clarified that the concept of the press council aimed to bring parties together and facilitate constructive engagement, rather than exerting control.

The objective is to foster a more receptive environment for criticism while encouraging media professionals to exercise restraint.

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