It is unlawful to reduce the channels of GBC—Minority to Govt
The Minority in Parliament has frowned on the decision made by the Communications Ministry to reduce the channels of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s (GBC) from six to three.
A Member of the Communications Committee of Parliament, Sam George, said the intention was unlawful and urged the ministry to rescind on its decision.
Speaking in Parliament in Accra on Wednesday, he said the Minority was against any attempt to cut the reach and scope of GBC’s work.
“If the Minister for Communication legally does not have the mandate to make such a demand of GBC, then this whole conversation is moot. An Illegality is an illegality,” Mr George added.
He further indicated that the National Media Commission (NMC) could advise managements of GBC to disregard the letter from the Minister since she had no powers and remit to take such decision.
The GBC is currently operating on the National Digital Terrestrial Television platform but the Communications Ministry wants to ensure there is no redundancy on the platform.
In a letter signed by the Communication’s Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful dated June 26 stated that GBC would have to reduce their channels from six to three and “consolidate programming in line with this directive.”
The Ministry’s directive was to take effect 60 days from June 26, 2020.
The six stations under GBC are GTV, GBC News, GTV Sports Plus, GBC Obonu TV, GTV Life and Ghana Learning TV.
Defending her stand in Parliament, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful noted that the government has been covering the cost of all the channels of GBC, stressing “that the process is unsustainable.”
“If we are going to handle that cost completely to the broadcasting channels at this time when there is a general business slowdown… we will have a problem because, on the basis of the figures I have seen, you will be unable to pay for the cost of hosting the platform,” she added.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful observed that plans by the government to expand the DTT platform has become futile due to COVID-19 outbreak and promised government’s commitment to put things in order once life become normal.
“Currently, the DTT which has the capacity for 40 channels, has been used up.
Government planned to expand capacity on the network but has been delayed by the COVID-19.
There will be more spectrum available after the completion of the DTT process,” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stressed.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE