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22.03.2007 General News

NMC is “toothless bulldog”

Journalists in the Northern Region have recommended the empowerment of the National Media Commission (NMC) to effectively carry out its constitutional mandate of ensuring high journalistic standards in the country.

They said the NMC in its current state was "a toothless bulldog" that lacked the power to even compel erring journalists to appear before it.

The Journalists made the recommendation at a meeting organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) for the media in Tamale on Wednesday to collate views and opinions on amendment of the constitution.

The IEA is preparing a Democratic Consolidation Strategy Paper that seeks to analyse the shortcomings of Ghana's democratic practice since the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution.

The Paper seeks to propose practical constitutional reforms in areas such as; the macro-political environment; the constitution, political parties and the electoral system; decentralisation, role of the opposition, anti-corruption, human rights, independence of the media; women and gender; making Parliament effective and judicial independence.

The meeting generated lively debate when a consultant to the IEA and a facilitator at the meeting, Professor Yaw Twumasi, expressed the perception that journalists were wielding "too much" power, which they were using to destroy the reputation of people.

Some of the participants however, disagreed with him and pointed out that people who felt aggrieved by media reports could seek redress at the courts while others were of the view that the country now had a "vibrant media."

The participants also made proposals for a constitutional amendment for the position of Metropolitan, Municipal, District Chief Executive to be elected while the President chose majority of his Ministers outside Parliament.

They contended that when Ministers were appointed from Parliament they neglected their duties as representatives of their constituencies and rather concentrated on their ministerial jobs.

A Senior Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and a facilitator at the meeting, Mr Kwamena Ahwoi, said after the on-going consultations with stakeholders and their contributions on democratic governance were collated, the IEA would submit a final report by the end of June.

Source: GNA