Mr. Speaker, this is a very opportune occasion for us as a House to assist the Government in taking a clear position as to how to handle GBC.
Mr. Speaker, we all know that in the pre-independence days, journalism in Ghana, particularly led by the GBC was to serve the useful purpose of fighting for our liberation.
Again, during the authoritarian regimes, the GBC together with other journalists fought hard to get us liberated from the clutches of dictators and move us to achieving democracy. We are now in a democratic dispensation. The challenge to us as a country is, how we can move some of these institutions, including GBC from the clutches of this dictatorial colonial past.
Mr. Speaker, it is actually not clear whether GBC is a state institution, whether GBC is a government institution, whether GBC is a private institution. There is a struggle for control and we have had in this country, very subtle forces that are released daily, especially by politicians and the free market economy in their attempt to take hold of the GBC. And Mr. Speaker, that is why I said it is an opportune occasion for us in this House to assist in policy formulation to make sure that we redirect our efforts as to what and how we want the GBC to be. I believe strongly that we still need State institutions. I believe strongly that we still need the GBC to be a State institution. By saying a State institution, I do not mean under government control. I mean, an institution that can chart the national course and be seen to be non-partisan and
non-political but at least nationalistic and patriotic.
Mr. Speaker, the GBC is in crisis now and it is not just crisis of finance, we also have leadership crisis. And we are aware of the dissatisfaction of the staff of the GBC, not just because of the conditions of service but because they cannot see the direction in which that institution is moving.
Mr. Speaker, I would strongly urge that Government should take a critical look at the GBC, should stop the downward trend of the GBC and make sure that the GBC is repositioned as a State institution. I believe strongly that the current leadership crisis in the GBC can easily be handled. It is not comfortable reading that the former Director-General says she is about to go and take her position and then the next day you are reading that some staff of the GBC are saying: “over their dead bodies”. And all that internal bickering is unhealthy because the GBC is seen as a lead organization when we talk about the profession of journalism.
Mr. Speaker, once again, let me reiterate that it is important that the Government takes a critical look at the GBC, and take the lead for this country to solidify the position that I am urging on, that the GBC be seen as a state institution. We would want the GBC to be more professional than it is. We want the GBC to be more objective. We have not had the analysis of looking at who is now more covered than whom in the political arena. Whether the GBC is covering more of government, more of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), more of National Democratic Congress (NDC) or more of the Minority Leader or whatever, we will need to do these studies and make sure that the journalists all over, especially in the State institutions are aware that they are to serve the national
interest and not parochial interests.
Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. Member who made the Statement and again call on this House to, at least make an input, even if it is in the form of us empowering our Committee on Communications and Information to sit together and make a write-up to the Government trying to direct which area we should adopt as a policy to support the growth and stability of the GBC.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity.
Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (retd) (NPP - Berekum): I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this very important Statement.
Mr. Speaker, I listened very well when my hon. Friend from Tamale Central was making the Statement.
Mr. Speaker, it is a fact nobody would quarrel with, that the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) is one of the most important institutions of our nation, Ghana.
One of the reasons is primarily because it has branches all over the country. From Bawku down to Half-Assini, from Keta right down to Hamile, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation covers the entire spectrum of our dear nation, and anything that we do through radio and television, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation carries the news to our people.