A reconstituted National Media Commission (NMC) has been inducted into office, with a charge to the commission to play its watchdog role effecively to keep the Ghanaian society at peace with itself.
The immediate past chairman of the NMC, Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere was re-elected unopposed to serve another term.
Other members of the reconstituted commission, who were inducted are Dr Camynta Baizie, representing the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) and Library Associations, Mr Perry Ofosu of the Institute Public Relations (IPR), Mr Anthony Akoto-Ampaw of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr Sam Kofi Ahenkorah of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) with Nana Essilfie Conduah representing Journalism Training Institutions (JTI).
Dr Clement Apaak and Mr Francis Kwarteng Arthur represent the Presidency on the commission; Rev Ofori Kuragu represents the Christian Council of Ghana, Mr Kinglsey Offei Nkansah - the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Ms Patience Opoku - the National Council on Women and Development (NCWD) and Alhaji Gado Mohammed representing the Muslim/Ahmaddiya community.
The rest are Chief Crystal Djirackor who represents the Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association (GIBA), Ms Gina Blay, Private Newspapers Publishers Association of Ghana and Mr Kwesi Gyan Apenteng, who together with Mr Blay-Amihere, represent the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)
Justice Wood, whose address was read on her behalf by Justice Anin Yeboah, a Supreme Court Judge, said although the media had not done badly since the Fourth Republic, “... there have been excesses in some instances warranting serious scrutiny by the NMC to ensure that the rights of others are not infringed upon”
She asked the new commission to monitor the activities of the media who broadcast in the local language to ensure that the standards of taste and decency were upheld.
She also encouraged the media to sensitise the public on electoral offences and their corresponding sanctions as spelt out in PNDCL284 and CI72 such as being in possession of an officially marked ballot paper without lawful excuse or justification.
She explained some of the offences as exerting undue influence by threatening temporal, spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss to compel or induced a person to vote in a particular way and preventing a voter from casting his or her vote by abduction, duress or other fraudulent method.
“Giving money or other financial inducement to a person to vote or refrain from voting and interfering with a voter who is voting and attempting to vote for someone without proper authorization” She added.
She urged the commission to monitor the activities of the media in providing fair and equitable political coverage to all political parties.
“I mean you should be more proactive in resolving complaints you receive about ethical breaches and professional misconduct by the media whilst giving important regard to continuous training of media personnel to improve their skills and enhance their competencies” she urged.
Mr Blay-Amihere, in a remark, promised decency, truth and unbiased coverage in the elections.
He added that the NMC had collaborated with the National Communication Authority (NCA) to take all appropriate measures to discipline any media organisation that might go against the ethics of the profession during and after the elections.
“We need to put partisanship aside and place Ghana first by informing the public with credible and accurate information,” he said.