Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kabral cautions media houses

Kabral Blay Amihere is the Chairman of the National Media Commission in Ghana

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday August 31, 2010
Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere has cautioned that the public will soon turn against the media if it does not deal with unethical journalism and corruption as well take steps to mend their ways.

“Ghana’s democracy is quiet better because we have a vibrant press but the actions of journalists can bring down this nation. We have a false belief that the media is free but I say that by our transgressions it will give the authorities opportunity to clamp down on the media,” he explained.

Ambassador Kabral was speaking at a public lecture organized by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) to mark 75 years of broadcasting in the country.

The lecture with the topic “Media in democracy: The case of Ghana” was the last in the series of lectures and seminars lined up by the nation’s premier broadcaster for the celebration under the general theme “The national broadcaster – Agent for development.”

Ambassador Kabral said “since journalists as members of the human race are by nature political animals, there will always be politics in the media and journalists will take sides in political struggles. But Ghanaian media must develop the culture to operate as newspapers and electronic media and not as propaganda sheets or voice-boxes boxes of political parties or partisan interests.”

He said journalists could pursue ideals and causes dear to their hearts without serving as ‘footnotes’, adding “it is possible as other media in other parts of the world do, to remain professional and still be politically relevant.”

He said politicians who set up “little newspapers to propagate their agenda should keep clear from the profession or at best not be ones to criticize the press.”

Ambassador Kabral cautioned the media particularly the numerous private radio stations to show responsibility in their operations saying “not long ago, it was unthinkable to for anybody to apart from the state to have private radio. A great deal of social responsibility lies on their shoulders to ensure that their stations are not used by anybody to promote division and civil strife in Ghana.”

He also urged editors of state-owned media to continue to extricate itself from governmental interference saying “any control, direct or indirect from government can only take place if the management and editors of the state-owned media allow themselves to be used.”

He commended the private media for blazing the trail for press freedom when Ghana was in a democratic transition saying the lack of professional solidarity in the media fraternity today due to undue politicization of issues is an indication that the media needed to do more if it has to continue expanding the frontiers of media freedom.”

He also supported the call for the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to help weed out charlatans from the profession but said it should be handled with care so that it would not negate the fundamental rights of every Ghanaian to free speech and freedom of expression.

Ambassador Kabral commended the present and past staff of GBC for sacrificing to get the station on track.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Information who stood in for the sector Minister said “Ambassador Kabral’s presentation is candid, erudite and authoritative. He came out so sincerely and honestly.”

He promised the government’s readiness to support any effort that would promote freedom of the media and the practitioners and called on the media to also observe high ethical and professional standards.

William Ampem-Darko, Director-General of the GBC said media freedom should never be restricted adding “the frontiers of media freedom should rather be expanded for our democracy to grow rapidly.”

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