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19.01.2004 General News

It's Illegal To Stop Phone-Ins - NMC

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The National Media Commission (NMC) has stated that it cannot support calls to cancel radio phone-in programmes this year in order to ease political tension in the country, as is being suggested in some quarters.

It said “heeding the call would amount to muzzling the callers which would be censorship which simply is, examination to remove parts considered offensive, politically unacceptable or a threat to security”.

A press statement issued by the NMC said the constitution states unequivocally in Article 162(2) that there shall be no censorship in Ghana.

The statement added that in Article 21(1), “All persons (which include phone-in-callers) shall have the right to (a) freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media.

“Consequently, the Media Commission, which is enjoined in Article 167(a) to promote and ensure freedom and independence of the media, cannot be part of any move, which is contrary to its constitutional obligations.”

The NMC also stated that it was erroneous to assume that phone-ins were limited to only political issues, adding that, certainly issues covered in phone-in programmes varied widely from politics to socio-economic matters adding that the liberty of the people to freely comment on such issues could not be curtailed.

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