Change TV License to Public Media Tax – Professor Amin-Alhassan

By: Felix Cofie

Director General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Professor Amin Alhassan says any democracy that Ghana aspires to, depends largely on the attention the government pays to Public Service Broadcasting.

He said when it comes to reliability and truth, Public Service Broadcasting stands out and it is through this that government policies can be disseminated without any spin or propaganda.

Speaking at a forum organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in Accra, Professor Alhassan said there must be a clear conversation and direction as to the kind of public Service Broadcasting that Ghana wants and its funding mechanisms.

He said if the funding mechanisms are not addressed as soon as possible, GBC will be forced to run as a commercial entity to keep up with the market demands.

Professor Alhassan said the whole idea of the TV License must be looked at again with the name changed to Public Media Tax.

“GBC matters most. This year is the year that the United States discovered that public broadcasting matters most. Amongst the Europeans they were the leading in funding, but this year they have increased it to the highest ever. Any democracy that Ghana is aspiring to look like, they have a clear commitment of valued public service broadcasting as part of the media mix of their democracy because research has consistently demonstrated that when it comes to reliability, truth and confidence in the media, public service across the world stand out. Every good thing that Ghanaians must hear from the judiciary service, policy, our Job is not to compete with the other private media for advertising to keep going. We must create an enabling mechanism so that it will focus on delivering of it’s mandate”.

Professor Amin-Alhassan said management is considering increasing the number of languages that the Corporation broadcasts in to reflect the diversity of the Ghanaian culture.

He said due to lack of a funding mechanism to pay electricity bills, GBC is sometimes forced to shut down some of its stations in some districts, a situation he described as sad.

When this happens, he said some of the districts close to the borders are forced to pick signals from neighbouring countries like Togo and Burkina Faso.

”Public service broadcast is defined by diversity of content, that’s why we keep on thinking of increasing the number of languages. Ghana has 56 , we are not even up to half of it. The second definition of public service broadcast is universality. We must reach out to all. Sometimes we are forced to shut down some of our stations in some districts because of electricity”, the GBC DG noted.

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