There is the need to review instruments and acts of incorporation of the four state-owned media that dates back to 1971, to foster harmony between those instruments and the provisions under Chapter 12 of the 192 Constitution.
The media institutions involved are the Ghana News Agency, the New Times Corporation, Graphic Communications Group Limited and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.
Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), made the call at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Graphic Communications Group Limited in Accra, during which the Group paid 600,000 Ghana Cedis dividend to the Government.
Mr Blay-Amihere said as a result of contradictions and anomalies between the instruments and acts of incorporation of the four state-owned media and the provisions under Chapter 12 of the Constitution, one of the challenges that the NMC in consultation with other stakeholders, must deal with was a review of those instruments, which date to 1971, after broad consultations with stakeholders.
He cited that when the Graphic Communications Group Limited took the step to transform itself into a limited liability company in 1999, it was the 1971 Act of Incorporation that guided the establishment of its governing board with regard to numbers and not the ‘Regulations of 1999’.
Mr Blay-Amihere said: “I am informed that the transformation of Graphic into its current status was not done with the involvement of stakeholders, particularly the NMC, hence the existence of some contradictions.
“If today's event is an annual general meeting as demanded by the Companies Code, then this one is very unique in many ways for which reason it may be more appropriate to describe it as a stakeholders meeting with the declaration and presentation of the dividend, the high point of the meeting.”
On the dividend, the NMC Chairman remarked that at a time when many state enterprises were not doing well, it was good news and refreshing that Graphic was able to pay dividend to Government.
He said whilst Graphic was fulfilling its tax obligation, many government departments owed Graphic about the same amount it was paying as dividend, adding that debt secured by Graphic through the purchase of modern machines was also being serviced.
Mr Blay-Amihere said it was important that companies in which the state had a stake, worked on sound financial basis to become self-sufficient and be able to pay dividends.
He stated that in the case of the state-owned media, their relevance and functionality could not be determined solely by how much profit they made or dividend they paid.
“Ultimately, they shall be assessed by how effective and faithful they are in fulfilling their constitutional duties. In this regard, serious consideration must be given to the application of their profits and dividends towards their empowerment and capacity building.
“When the NMC engaged with the state-owned media to review the report of the NMC's Monitoring for the 2012 elections, which showed the state-owned media were not giving all the parties equal coverage as ordered by the Constitution, one explanation given by representatives of some of the state-owned media for the imbalance, was the lack of adequate resources and logistics,” he said.
He, nonetheless, reminded the state-owned media that it was not only the parties and politicians who must get access to the state-owned media but ordinary people in the local communities must also be covered.
Mr Blay-Amihere said: “with regard to coverage of international events, it is time Graphic entrenched its position in the West African sub-region and internationally by having correspondents in major capitals in West Africa and the African continent if it is to live up to its goal of becoming the true leader in the media industry.
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