By Dr. Kofi Amponsah-Bediako
The media exists operates to cement a variety of views throughout society, so that no segments of society are left behind in any developmental effort.
In-fact, even though there are different media systems operating in various parts of the world, they all carry out an agenda to promote their respective national interests, depending on what they stand for and the national interest they promote.
Both the private and public media systems play important roles to ensure that there is socio-economic and political development in all parts of the country.
The media systems operate differently, even though they aim to promote development, based on the political and economic policies they believe in.
In Ghana, the various media systems operate to carry out the developmental agenda of the country. However, when it comes to Public Service Broadcasting, only the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) falls into this category. This means that GBC deserves to be treated differently from the other media systems operating in the country. The private media, for example, have been set up to operate for profit. The ownership system is therefore in private hands and seeks to promote individual interests. In the case of the GBC, it is a public broadcaster, owned by the people of Ghana.
This means that funding must come from or be done by the entire people of Ghana towards its operations. If funding from the public is found to be inadequate, the operations of GBC would be adversely affected. It is in the light of this, that every effort would have to be made to ensure the GBC is adequately funded to operate effectively.
Apart from operating effectively, the GBC must also operate efficiently, so that the resources made available to it can be used to maximise its output. GBC is not necessarily for profit, but to help serve the interest of the nation. It is for this reason also, that its networks can be found in all the regions of Ghana. Again,apart from English language, which is the official language, the public service broadcaster operates in the major local languages of the country.
GBCs operations in Ghana is modelled after that of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, of the United Kingdom.
The BBC provides the best example for public service broadcasting organisations. In the United Kingdom, the term public service broadcasting (PSB) refers to broadcasting that is intended for public benefit, rather than commercial interests and profit. The communications regulator in that country requires that some television and radio broadcasters fulfil certain requirements, as part of acquiring a license to broadcast. All of the television and radio stations have a public service remit, including those that broadcast digitally.
This is how the GBC should be seen in its operations, as a public broadcaster. Without adequate financial support, GBC can not operate effectively as required and this will adversely affect the quality of service provided to Ghanaians. Again, without adequate financial support, GBC will have problems with its equipment, as well as training of its staff. It is a fact, most equipment of the GBC are outmoded, obsolete and therefore need urgent replacement or re-tooling. Staff are working under strenuous conditions, with meager salaries.
These problems, coupled with poor remuneration and allowances for the hardworking and overly stretched staff are pushing some staff to leave the corporation for better opportunities elsewhere. In spite of all these problems or challenges facing the public service broadcaster, it has trained and continues to train many of the staff from the private media. This shows that given adequate support in all forms, it will perform better and be comparable to the leading broadcasting organisations in the world.
GBC, as is well known, is responsible for its reportage and operations. Hardly will GBC be found being irresponsible in its operations or reportage, whether RADIO or Television broadcast.
The Public Service Broadcaster, GBC, therefore needs adequate support to serve the interests of all sections of the population in the country. This is what is required to facilitate and promote the overall national agenda of socio-economic development for the country.