Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister for Information

Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has indicated that government is engaging with relevant stakeholders to pass a comprehensive broadcasting law that will help halt unregulated advertisements in the media including ‘money ritual’ adverts.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah’s comments followed public outcry calling for the expeditious passage of the broadcasting bill to regulate the media ecosystem after the recent murder of a 10-year-old boy by two teenagers in Kasoa for money rituals.

Felix Nyarko aka Yaw Anane and Nicholas Kwame Kini aged 16 and 18 respectively, have been charged for conspiring and killing Ishmael Mensah Abdallah at Coca Cola, near Lamptey Mills in Kasoa, in the Central Region.

Felix Nyarko, the first accused, is said to have been fascinated by television commercials about spiritualists who can make people instant millionaires.

He narrated the story to his friend Nicholas Kini, who recommended a spiritualist in the Volta Region who could be valuable in this regard.

As part of a comprehensive move to halt such harmful TV and Radio commercials, Information Minister Oppong Nkrumah said government is taking inputs from technocrats and industry experts to pass the law that will stand the test of time.

He reiterated that the passage of the broadcasting bill will help control media excesses in the country, giving the assurance that when Parliament resumes in May next month, the bill will be laid before the House for consideration.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the bill when passed into law, will also among other things, help arrest the falling standards in Ghana’s electronic media space and ensure it embraces modern best practices.

The Minister said the bill will be tactfully passed so as to not create a situation where it becomes a tool for successive governments to use in it stifling media freedom and freedom of speech.

Speaking on TV3’s current affairs programme “The Key Point”, on Saturday, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said government is treading cautiously in passing the bill because one of the key tenants of democracy is media freedom.

He said it will be out of place to pass a law that curtails the freedom of the media, one of the key players in any democratic dispensation.

“We in government or the Ministry of Information responsible for information sector policy formulation agree that there is the need to pass the broadcasting law. I and my directors and technocrats have spent about a year working on it and engaging with stakeholders including the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), etc but doing it tactfully.

“We are being tactful because media freedoms and freedoms of expression are rights that are given to us by the constitution and which right even though can be effected by law must be done carefully in a manner that we don’t create a ruse for government to use it as an opportunity to stifle those freedoms,” he added.

SOURCEBy Kyei Boateng
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