Editor-in-Chief of GhanaNewsOne.com, Joseph Kobla Wemakor has called on all Ghanaians to consider payment of TV license fee an obligation and ensu
Editor-in-Chief of GhanaNewsOne.com, Joseph Kobla Wemakor has called on all Ghanaians to consider payment of TV license fee an obligation and ensure its full compliance in order to enable the state broadcaster discharge its constitutional mandate effectively to the satisfaction of all and sundry in country.
He averred the weakness of the state broadcaster to function meritoriously in delivery of quality contents for public consumption could be blamed on lack of funds.
“GBC is our very own and it behooves on all of us to make function to our satisfaction by ensuring that we pay our TV licence regularly”.
Mr. Wemakor was speaking as one of the panelists at the second edition of the Ghana Institute of Journalism’s (GIJ) Media Roundtable Dialogue Series, on the theme ‘If Not the TV License Fee then What? Funding GBC and the Future of the Public Service Broadcasting in Ghana’s Highly Commercialized Media Space’.
The forum which seeks to shed more light on the way forward for funding GBC especially in the wake of the hullabaloo revolving around payment of the TV licence after its enforcement in February, last year was held at the Ghana/India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT at Ridge in Accra on September 11, 2018.
The TV licence issue has sparked a huge controversy among a section of the public after it was reinforced in 2015 following years of failure. The contentious issue has even made some Ghanaians berserk who took to social media to register their displeasure.
But making his views known on the issue at the forum, Joseph Kobla Wemakor who also doubles as a staunch human rights and media advocate said, “just as how we pay tax to enable government execute its national developmental agenda, so must it be with the payment of the TV licence for the state broadcaster to perform its constitutional mandate creditably”.
For his part, Mr. William Ampem-Darko, former Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), called for the television (TV) licence fee to be scrapped and replaced with a public service broadcasting tax to help generate sustainable funds for smooth running of the corporation.
He also maintained that education on the current TV licence fee was not made known public therefore making it difficult for people to pay the state broadcaster to execute its mandate as deserved.
“What we need now is to forget about the TV licence and rather go for a public service broadcasting tax that will be incorporated into electricity bills and deducted to fund the GBC”.
Mr. Ampem-Darko suggested formation of a trust that would see to the management of the money with very well organized auditing service to guarantee accountability.
He also called for immediate steps to restructure the GBC to make it tough enough to perform its mandate as a public service broadcaster.
He hinted that the restructuring should be universal to tackle operational ineptitudes, external powers and help generate relevant content that would mirror the country’s growth plan.
In his remark, Professor Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, Rector of GIJ, disclosed it is about time definite position be taken as to whether GBC should remain a public service broadcaster and whether the corporation had the requisite financial muscle to execute its agenda.
According to him, if GBC would continue to exist as a public service broadcaster, proper funding tools would be required to make it work effectively.
For his part, Vice-President of Ghana Telecom University College, Professor Abeiku Blankson corroborated the suggestion made by the former DG that GBC ought to undergo restructuring to perform its mandate effectively but intimated that the initiative ought to be carried out first from the top, stressing the need for political will on part of government to achieve the task.
He stressed the need for adequate sensitization to make the public aware of the variance between the state broadcaster as well as other commercial broadcasters so they can be encouraged and committed to payment of their TV licence fee.