June 23, 2011

A politician and media owner is contesting the call for a law to debar politicians from owning media houses.

Kennedy Agyapong insists the call is misplaced, urging rather, for stiffer regulations to whip unethical media houses in line.

The Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa Prof. Kwame Karikari is waging a crusade to have politicians stripped of their rights to own media houses in Ghana.

He said in developing countries where the majority of politicians are not too sophisticated, they are likely to exploit their media outlets for their own parochial means and at whatever cost.

He contended the politicians use their media outlets as propaganda tools and sometimes engage in hate speeches and comments which could prove suicidal for the country.

Prof Karikari cited conflicts in Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria where the media was used as tools to fester ethnic tensions, chaos and violence.

“The problem is the media is becoming tools of partisan politics. That is where the danger is,” he told Joy News.

Asked if politicians could be banned from owning media houses in the country, the Prof responded in the affirmative but said it will not be without difficult challenges.

He said it is the politicians who enact laws in the country and will be difficult asking them to promulgate a new law which will prevent them from owning and running media outlets.

He said it is only a strong civil action that will instigate the passage of such a law in the country.

Prof Karikari hoped the new Broadcasting Bill which is yet to be passed into law will curtail some of the challenges.

But the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Agyapong who owns Net2 TV, and Oman FM told Joy News the professor’s argument is flawed.

He explained politicians own just a fraction of media outlets in Ghana and could not necessarily be blamed for the excesses in the media.

He argued newspapers which are mostly owned by business men and not politicians are worse off in peddling sensational materials and mostly set the agenda which is picked by the radio and TV stations.

Mr. Agyapong argued the solution lies in getting real professionals to man the various media outlets as well as a strong guideline for media practice in Ghana.

Source: Myjoyonline.com