The Minister for Information and National Orientation, Hon Oboshie Sai Cofie, has stressed that government has not taken any unilateral decision to restructure the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. However, the move is a request from GBC itself, led by its board. She has therefore called for a diffusion of the perception that the move is at the behest of Government.
Hon Oboshie made the above comments when she paid a familiarisation visit to the state broadcaster yesterday in Accra. The visit, described by the Minister as a family one, was to enable the Minister apprise herself with the way things are going, give encouragement to the staff and management of the corporation, get to know of their challenges, as well as brief them on developments in her Ministry, especially, of National Orientation.
She described as extremely unfortunate, the situation where attempts by her Ministry at getting closer to the new concept of the state-owned media are often misconstrued as subtle means to influence them to toe government lines. “GBC is our main media partner and it is only right that we relate to each other in a cordial atmosphere,” she said.
According to the Information and National Orientation Minister, government is aware of the challenges of GBC, and is doing everything humanly possible, both at ministerial and cabinet levels, to address them. She mentioned some of the challenges as the low cost of the TV license, and salary anomalies. The Minister also spoke about the significance of some of the bills presently being considered by cabinet. These were listed as the Film Bill, Electronic Communication Bill, and the proposed Broadcasting Bill. She noted that these proposed legislations would impact on the sector, and indirectly on GBC.
On the current anomalies about GBC salaries, she said that the problem emanated from GBC itself, and hoped that there would not be agitations from the union, as government and management of the corporation attempt to find ways of correcting the wrongs. She seized the occasion to commend GBC for its support to Government, especially her Ministry.
The Director General of the GBC, Mr Ampem Darko, in his welcoming remarks, hailed the punctual arrival of the Minister and her team, as well as her approach at getting closer to her constituents, the media. He intimated that funding constraints have made it difficult for the corporation to operate as a true independent state broadcaster, making it resort to commercial ventures, some of which are unbecoming of an institution of its nature.
During an inspection tour of the facilities of GBC, the Minister urged management and workers to maintain the facilities, which have been given an enormous facelift, to ensure their longevity
At a later interview in the new studios of the station, she said the focus of her Ministry is to disseminate Government policies and programmes in a format and manner that every Ghanaian will understand. Hon Oboshie Sai Cofie reiterated her earlier commitments to make her Ministry the channel of choice for information, so as to ensure its coherence and cohesiveness. She also emphasised the need for presenters to be well informed about the issues and subjects they air, for them to be balanced and objective.
The visit also coincided with a similar one by management of Metro T.V, who were at GBC to pay dividends on their profits for the 2005 and 2006 financial years. The monies totaled six hundred million cedis (sixty thousand Ghana cedis). The Chairman of the GBC Board, Most Rev Dr Samuel Asante Antwi, a former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana, lauded the success of Metro TV over the years. He hoped the day was going to be the beginning of even more closer relationship between the two institutions. He said competition is good, but co-operation is vital.
The Managing Director of Metro TV, Mr Talal Fatal, observed that a new sense of bringing the media together has been witnessed under Hon. Oboshie's leadership. He thanked the Government for the Golden Age of Business, admitting that there is currently the enabling environment for businesses to flourish in the country.
With the Minister on the tour included Mr Kofi Amponsah Bediako (Government Spokesperson on Social Services), Mrs Catherine Afeku (Government Spokesperson on Infrastructure), Hon� Nii Bi Ayi-Bonte (a former MP for Odododiodio Constituency), and other officials from the Ministry.