July 19, 2024
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NCA, NMC launch broadcast complaints platform

The National Communication Authority (NCA) and the National Media Commission (NMC) have introduced a media content complaints platform to sanitise the electronic media space and rid it of inappropriate and egregious content. 

The Broadcast Content Complaints Centre will allow citizens who view certain content as inappropriate in any way to report or register their displeasure for redress based on established guidelines.

The platform will be accessible to everybody on all mobile phone service networks across the country via toll free number 0800-419-666.

It is intended to address emerging challenges such as inflammatory speech, unprofessional conduct, the promotion of money doubling schemes, sexual content at non-watershed hours, and content offensive to national security interest, among others.

The initiative forms part of a memorandum of cooperation signed in 2021 between the two entities to collaborate in regulating broadcast content, and to ensure that content in the media space were safe, ethical and of high standards.

The complaint centre is also an innovation operated under the NCA’s Broadcast Monitoring Centre (BMC) launched last year to measure the transmission parameters of frequency modulation (FM) and television (TV) in the country.

Clear criteria

The complaints centre will, therefore, allow the relevant authorities to be abreast of what goes on in the media space, archive all available media content, and be able to analyse all complaints based on clear criteria for better and safer viewer experience.

The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who launched the project, lauded the collaboration between the two government agencies, saying it was an efficient use of scarce national resources by working together rather than duplicating such an initiative.

He also described the new platform as a pragmatic approach to dealing with the rising number of inappropriate content, saying it made use of already existing laws, guidelines, technology and infrastructure.

Mr Nkrumah, however, charged the NCA and NMC to balance their regulatory functions with the rights to free expression of broadcasters, media practitioners and the entire public.

“It’s a right we guard jealously in this country. Though you may dislike what somebody says about you, you should defend that person’s right to say it because that right to free expression is one of our highly upheld rights that we must always defend,” he stressed.

The Director-General of the NCA, Joe Anokye, said the complaints centre formed part of the authority’s digitalisation drive which dated back to 2017 to better serve the public.

He said there was an uptick in protests against certain media content in June 2021, which necessitated his outfit and the NMC to strengthen their ties in cleansing the airwaves of content not safe for public consumption.

“We are excited that two government institutions can collaborate and provide such a credible service to the nation that you and I love.

Not only that, the Food and Drugs Authority has also sent people here to come and look at the system so we can also collaborate further,” he added. 

Responsibility, freedom

The Chairperson of the NMC, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, assured the media that the complaints centre was not a covert operation to repress the media and its freedoms, adding that the NMC remained committed to its role as a facilitator of free media.

He, however, stressed that freedom and responsibility were conjoined, and as such media practitioners must exercise their freedoms within the confines of the law or be held responsible.

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, said the association would keenly monitor the toll free mechanism to ensure it did not become a politically motivated move to gag its members, reiterating that it would rise against any efforts to do so.

Present at the launch were stakeholders across the media landscape, including representatives of the GJA, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, the Media Foundation for West Africa, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

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