The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the government of Ghana is engaging the relevant stakeholders as part of efforts toward passing the broadcasting bill.
According to him, the government is taking inputs from technocrats and industry experts and at the same time being tactful in the passage of the bill so as to not create a situation where it becomes a tool for successive governments to stifle media freedom and free speech.
The minister said on Saturday that the government is treading cautiously in the passage of the bill because one of the key tenants of democracy is media freedom, noting that it will rather be out of place to pass a bill that curtails the freedom of the media – one of the key players in every democratic dispensation.
“We, in government, or the Ministry of Information responsible for information sector policy formulation, agree that there is the need to pass the broadcasting law”.
“I and my directors and technocrats have spent about a year working on it and engaging with stakeholders including the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) etc., but doing it tactfully”, he noted.
“We are being tactful because media freedoms and freedoms of expression are rights that are given to us by the Constitution and which right, even though can be effected by law, must be done carefully in a manner that we don’t create a ruse for the government to use it as an opportunity to stifle those freedoms,” he added.
His comments come at the back of public clamour for the expeditious passage of the bill to regulate the media ecosystem following the recent murder of an 11-year-old boy for money ritual purposes by two teenagers in Kasoa.
The minister said the passage of the broadcasting bill will control media excesses in the country and assured Ghanaians that when Parliament resumes in May this year, the bill will be laid before the house for deliberation.
He said the bill, when passed into law, will help, among other things, arrest the falling standards in Ghana’s electronic media space and ensure it embraces modern best practices.