Media Freedom: Which Way For Broadcast Authority of Zimbabwe?
Most, if not all African nationalists were inspired by Kwameh Nkrumah’s confrontation with British colonialism. Ghana was forerunner to and role model of the continent’s liberation. Despite the fact that President Robert Mugabe married his first wife from Ghana, the country brandishes the best constitutionally guaranteed media freedoms.
|Community radio broadcasting Photo courtesy|
According to Wikipedia, there are more than a hundred privately owned radio stations in Ghana. I will take the trouble to burden you naming these stations as proof that Dr Tafataona Mahoso’s devious Broadcast Authority of Zimbabwe [BAZ] is merely postponing the inevitable by refusing to liberalise Zimbabwe airwaves: Adom fm, Asempa fm , Atlantis fm, BBC, Channel R, Choice fm, Citi fm, Great fm, Happy fm, Hitz fm, Hot fm, Joy fm, Okay fm, Peace fm, Pluzz fm, Radio Gold, Radio Universe, RFI, Sena Radio, Sunny fm, Sweet Melodies, Top Radio, Uniiq fm, Vibe fm, Xfm, Yfm, Asempa fm,Nyhira fm and K FM.
There is also Spirit FM, Kesewaa Radio, Radio Mercury, GCR FM, Kessben FM, Nkosuo FM, Mett FM, Kapital FM, Luv FM, Fox FM, Ashh FM, Hello FM, Otec FM, Invisible FM, Focus Fm, Zuria fm, Dormaa fm, Space fm, Agoro fm, Chris fm, Adepa fm, Dinpa fm, Duapa fm. Omega radio, Sky fm, Kiss fm, Gifts fm, Akyaa fm, Nananom fm, Success fm, Yankee fm, Ark fm, Shalom fm, Royals fm, Classic fm, Asta fm, Vizen fm, Sompa Fm, Ogua FM, Apam FM and Swedru FM. This list excludes Nananom FM, Nkwa FM, Radio Biak, Spark Fm, Dunkwa -On- Offin Solar fm, Cape coast ahomka fm, Elimia, Eastern FM, Poly FM, Fawe FM, Life FM, Kudaya FM, Vision fm, Sekondi FM, Skyy power fm, Radio Maxx105.1FM, De Beat fm, Liberty fm, Rainbow 107.7, Adehyee fm, Aseda fm, Help fm, Goodnews fm, Beach fm, Rok fm, Melody fm, Kyzz fm, Yfm fm, Radio Upper West, Han, Radio Progress, Radford FM, Diamond Fm, Radio Justice, Filla Fm, North Star Radio, Radio Green, Bishara Radio, Might Fm, Simli Radio and Ridge Fm broadcasting from Tamale Polytechnic.
Ghana’s exemplary media diversity is rooted in its constitution. For the benefit of the partisan BAZ, I will inundate you with Chapter twelve of that country’s national constitution on freedom and independence of media. Bold italics are my own emphasis.
(1): Freedom and independence of the media are hereby guaranteed.
(2) Subject to this Constitution and any other law not inconsistent with this Constitution, there shall be no censorship in Ghana.
(3) There shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press or media; and in particular, there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a licence as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media for mass communication or information.
(4) Editors and publishers of newspapers and other institutions of the mass media shall not be subject to control or interference by Government, nor shall they be penalized or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications.
(5) All agencies of the mass media shall, at all times, be free to uphold the principles, provisions and objectives of this Constitution, and shall uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people of Ghana.
“(6) Any medium for the dissemination of information to the public which publishes a statement about or against any person shall be obliged to publish a rejoinder, if any, from the person in respect of whom the publication was made.
 All state-owned media shall afford fair opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions.
164] The provisions of articles 162 and 163 of this Constitution are subject to laws that are reasonably required in the interest of national security, public order, public morality and for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons.
 For the avoidance of doubt, the provisions of this Chapter shall not be taken to limit the enjoyment of any of the fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed under Chapter 5 of this Constitution.
 (1) There shall be established by Act of Parliament within six months after Parliament first meets after the coming into force of this Constitution, a National Media Commission which shall consist of fifteen members as follows - (a) one representative each nominated by (i) the Ghana Bar Association; (ii) the Publishers and Owners of the Private Press; (iii) the Ghana Association of Writers and the Ghana Library Association; (iv) the Christian group (the National Catholic Secretariat, the Christian Council, and the Ghana Pentecostal Council) (v) the Federation of Muslim Councils and Ahmadiyya Mission; (vi) the training institutions of journalists and communicators; (vii) the Ghana Advertising Association and the Institute of Public Relations of Ghana; and (viii) the Ghana National Association of Teachers; (b) two representatives nominated by the Ghana Journalists Association; (c) two persons appointed by the President; and (d) three persons nominated by Parliament. (2) The Commission shall elect its own Chairman.
 The functions of the National Media Commission are- (a) to promote and ensure the freedom and independence of the media for mass communication or information; (b) to take all appropriate measures to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the highest journalistic standards in the mass media, including the investigation, mediation and settlement of complaints made against or by the press or other mass media; (c) to insulate the state-owned media from governmental control; (d) to make regulations by constitutional instrument for the registration of newspapers and other publications, except that the regulations shall not provide for the exercise of any direction or control over the professional functions of a person engaged in the production of newspapers or other means of mass communication; and (e) to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law not inconsistent with this Constitution.
 The Commission shall appoint the chairmen and other members of the governing bodies of public corporations managing the state -owned media in consultation with the President.
 Editors of the state-owned media shall be appointed by the governing bodies of the respective corporations in consultation with the Public Services Commission.
 The Commission shall appoint the officers and other employees of the Commission in consultation with the Public Services Commission.
 The administrative expenses of the National Media Commission, including salaries, allowances and pensions payable to or in respect of persons serving with the Commission shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund.
 Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution or by any other law not inconsistent with this Constitution, the National Media Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the performance of its functions.
 Subject to article 167 of this Constitution, the National Media Commission shall not exercise any control or direction over the professional functions of a person engaged in the production of newspapers or other means of communication.”
Dr Mahoso, do not violate our hard won freedoms. Just let us broadcast.
By Rejoice Ngwenya.
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