The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has, on the occasion of World Radio Day, asked relevant ministries to push for the finalization of the long-awaited Broadcasting Bill to be assented, finally, into law.
In an address delivered by the President of GIBA’s Executive Council, Cecil Thomas Nii Lante Sunkwa-Mills to commemorate the day, he contended that the passage of the bill will strengthen the positive use and growth of our large broadcasting community in Ghana towards further National development.
Below is the full address:
On behalf of the Executive Council, Council of Elders and Members of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, I warmly welcome you to this year’s commemoration of World Radio Day.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am proud to state that ever since the advent of radio in the nineteenth century, it has remained the most widely used, available and trusted means of electronic mass communication in the world.
The fact that radio uses the human voice for communication, it has the unique ability to invoke a listener to imagine what is being broadcast and relate or otherwise to it.
For years, radio has remained the most far-reaching, quick and easily accessible communication medium that informs and entertains all sectors of society, with no boundaries.
We can all attest to the fact that here in Ghana, we can listen to the radio at home, in a vehicle, at the marketplace, on the farm, and later online for those with internet access anywhere.
Years ago and even very recently during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, radio was used to deliver school and adult education lessons. That takes some of us back to ‘Everyday English’ lessons and the like on GBC Radio 1.
Unfortunately, there are certain places in the world where the accessibility character of radio has been used negatively to fuel fake news, hatred and division, leading to conflict.
The comfort is that while some engage in these negativities, there are other places where, due to the passing of a lot of progressive legislation and regulatory mechanisms, radio broadcasts tend to be balanced in news, programmes and the practice of independent journalism in general.
After numerous studies and deliberations by UNESCO Member States, a declaration was made to institute the 13th of February each year as World Radio Day (WRD) in 2011.
This was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 14 January 2013 as an international day and since then, 13th February has been celebrated in various forms by member states all over the world.
The observance of World Radio Day is basically to raise awareness among the public and the media regarding the importance of radio, to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters, as well as to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio.
In Ghana, GIBA has led in the commemoration of the day for some time now by holding events such as this and considering that GIBA Members are spread all over the country, the Executive Council made it a point to commemorate the day in Tamale, this year.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Radio and Peace”. This theme reminds us of the power of radio in nurturing and building peace.
It provides the space for fostering and enriching democratic debate as is so often witnessed on our numerous radio stations. It is therefore crucial to safeguard the independence of radio and the media in general, including its diversity in many respects.
We at GIBA believe that this is the reason why UNESCO and more importantly, the framers of the 1992 Constitution have made freedom of the press a priority, which encapsulates our 513 operational radio stations out of 707 authorizations.
We will also wish to use this occasion to also call on the Ministry of Information, Ministry of Communication and Digitalization and its agencies, to push the finalization of the long-awaited Broadcasting Bill to be assented finally into law, to strengthen the positive use and growth of our large broadcasting community in Ghana towards further National development and capture the impact of renewed policies and new technologies into the industry to ensure sustainability and growth.
The Executive Council and I would like to encourage all GIBA member radio stations and all stakeholders to not only pay lip service to the celebration of this day, but to also celebrate radio’s huge potential, and especially, to improve cooperation between broadcasters, policymakers, local authorities, law enforcement bodies, businesses and the general public while boosting the promotion of access to information, balanced with freedom of expression, gender equality and social inclusion across our communities in both the local and international language while making greater use of radio as a unique instrument of peace.
I wish us all a happy celebration.
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