Let's dialogue on capacity building for state media

The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, has called for dialogue on how the state-owned media could invest some of their profit in capacity building that will ensure their independence and effectiveness.

According to him, the Broadcasting Bill, which was still-born, captured that consideration when it proposed a Broadcasting Fund that would be funded through contributions and levies from the electronic media, to assist in the development of the industry.

'The question being asked here is, how much of the dividend Graphic pays every year goes to strengthen Graphic and the other media? I challenge the Board of Directors of Graphic to give full consideration to the matter, in consultation with all stakeholders. It is an issue the NMC will continue to raise until we reach a consensus in the interest of the media,' he said.

Mr Blay-Amihere raised the issue at the 10th annual general meeting of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) in Accra yesterday.

At the meeting, the GCGL, among other things, announced the declaration of GH¢600,000 as dividend to the state.

The AGM in sessionState agencies owe Graphic

Mr Blay-Amihere noted with concern that while the GCGL was fulfilling its obligations to the government, the government or many state organisations owed the company about the same amount it was paying as dividend.

'In fact, the indebtedness of government departments to Graphic is far above the dividend (GH¢600,000) declared for 2012,' he said.

He noted that for the state-owned media, their relevance and functionality depended, among other things, on how effectively they fulfilled their constitutional duties, suggesting that 'in this regard serious consideration must be given to the application of their profits and dividends towards their empowerment and capacity'.

Lack of resources
The NMC Chairman recalled that when last year the commission engaged with the state-owned media to review the report of the NMC's Monitoring for the 2012 elections, which showed the media were not giving the political parties equal coverage as ordered by the Constitution, the explanation given was the lack of adequate resources and logistics.

'Let us remember that it is not only the parties and politicians who must get access to the state-owned media. Ordinary mortals, the various communities, urban and rural, in the country must also be covered. Graphic cannot claim to have that extensive coverage and presence in the regions,' he said.Mrs Irene Addo-Dankwah (right), an official of the Ministry of Finance making a remark. With her is Mrs Magdalene Apenteng, Director of Public Investment Department of the Ministry of Finance.

Mr Blay-Amihere said the government should be happy that the GCGL Board had recommended that GHC600,000 be paid as dividend for 2012.

Positive strides
He said the financial indicators in the company's 2012 report and the recent rebranding of the Daily Graphic mirrored the positive strides the GCGL was making.

He congratulated all who facilitated the GCGL success story and commended the board and the management for saving the company some money by holding the AGM on the company's premises.

By Emmanuel Bonney & Sarah Mensah
Daily Graphic/graphic.com.gh

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