Accra, Feb. 13, GNA-The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has urged the Executive and the Legislature to hasten steps over the passage of the Broadcasting Bill to sanitise the airwaves.
“The GJA believes one critical step needed to be taken to sanitise the airwaves is the passage of the Broadcasting Bill, which has been going in and out of Parliament for many years. We urge the Executive and Legislature to give maximum attention to the bill and get it passed immediately.”
“In fact, the Executive and Parliament cannot absolve themselves of blame as far as the current state of radio broadcasting in Ghana is concerned, and until they work in concert to pass the Broadcasting Bill immediately, they cannot raise any clean hands against the ills of radio broadcasting in Ghana,” a statement signed by Mr Kofi Yeboah, General Secretary, GJA, said.
It noted that radio was a powerful communication channel that can be used for good and evil in equal measure.
“In the case of the latter, the broadcast of hate propaganda by Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines in Rwanda, which fueled the infamous genocide that occurred in that country in 1994, leading to the death of about 800,000 people, is still fresh in memory,” the statement said.
It said in 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted February 13 as an International Day after it was earlier proclaimed by UNESCO Member States in 2011.
The statement said the day was meant to, among other objectives, extol the importance of radio, promote international cooperation among radio broadcasters and urge decision-makers and duty-bearers to create and provide access to information through radio.
The theme for the commemoration of this year’s World Radio Day is: “Radio and Peace”.
It said UNESCO sought to use the occasion to highlight the importance of independent radio as a pillar for conflict prevention and peacebuilding and one of the cardinal purposes of radio, which UNESCO sought to highlight in this year’s celebration was to prevent conflict and promote peace.
“The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) could not have agreed more with the theme due to its significance in the Ghanaian context.”
The statement encouraged radio broadcasters to be conscious of their obligation towards peace, especially as the 2024 electioneering gathered momentum.
It said the high stakes at the intra-party and inter-party levels of politics, and the high-voltage anxiety, tension and frustration emanating from the country’s current economic challenges, provided good seeds of disorder, chaos and violence.
The statement said under no circumstance must radio provide the fertile ground for the sowing and germination of such destructive seeds but rather, radio owners, managers and broadcasters must use their platforms for peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
It said the GJA was deeply concerned about the many instances of radio programmes or broadcasts that tended to foment violence to a very large extent rather than promote peace and called on the owners and managers of such radio stations to refine their programmes and ensure sanity on their airwaves.
“It is disheartening to note that sometimes the owners and managers of radio stations who are expected to guide radio broadcasters on the path of professional righteousness are themselves the masterminds and promoters of unprofessional conduct that tend to undermine peace.”
The statement called on the National Media Commission, as the regulatory body, and institutions of authority such as the National Communications Authority to collaborate and call erring radio broadcasters and stations to order.
It said the GJA expected the NMC in particular to be proactive in its monitoring function and sanction radio stations that violated professional and ethical principles.
The statement congratulated all radio broadcasters who had been faithful to professional and ethical practice and working diligently to promote the cause of peace and national development.
“May you continue to bear the flag of peace, and may your professional deeds bear good fruits for national development.”