The National Media Commission (NMC) has hinted that it has plans to reintroduce content regulation law in Ghana to inject sanity into the country’s media.
The hint follows the recent arrests of Kwabena Bobie Ansah, a presenter with Accra FM, and Mensah Thompson, executive director of the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA). Both arrests were in connection with publication of false news.
Speaking to Asaase News about the responsibility of the media, George Sarpong, the executive secretary of the NMC, said it has become imperative to reintroduce the law.
“As far as we are concerned, we made the boldest effort yet and we are ready to do it again,” Sarpong told Kwaku Nhyira-Addo on Wednesday morning’s Asaase Breakfast Show (16 February 2022).
“I want to draw your attention to something very interesting. When we did LI 2224 [the content regulation law], at the time, the idea of a generalised framework for regulating content across platforms had not come up across the world.
“But the point is that we need to understand the reality on the ground, bring ourselves down to reality. And to say we cannot have a decent conversation about our nation where all the avenues of discourse are littered with filthy attitudes and that is best secured within the democratic framework of media regulation in Ghana … Yes, we have to [introduce content regulation],” the NMC boss said.
However, he agreed that his outfit needs to deepen education to make a strong case for reintroducing the law.
“It seems to me that we need to build considerable stakeholder understanding to say this is why we need this kind of thing to protect everybody, otherwise we are going to go through this cycle,” Sarpong said.
For his part, Zakaria Tanko Musah, a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, told the ABS that he believes reintroducing the law will not be a panacea for addressing the problem.
A law that required media owners to seek content approval from the NMC before publication was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2016.
In a unanimous decision, the seven-member panel held that certain regulations in the NMC (Content Standards) Regulations 2015 (LI 2224) amounted to censorship and contravened Article 162 (4) of the 1992 constitution.
By the court’s judgment, regulations 3, 4, 5 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 22 of the law were struck down as unconstitutional.
“The regulations are hereby struck down as unconstitutional, null and void,” the Supreme Court decision announced.
The court’s judgment was read by Justice A A Benin, while Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo presided over the panel.
The other members of the panel were Justices Jones Dotse, Sophia Adinyira, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Joseph Bawa Akamba and Gabriel Pwamang.
Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
99.5 in Accra, 90.7 in Ho, 98.5 in Kumasi, 99.7 in Tamale, 89.5 in Tarkwa, 100.3 in Cape Coast and 106.9 in Walewale
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995