We are not against pornography but... – NMC petitioner

Ghana News

News / Ghana News 15 Views

One of those who petitioned the National Media Commission (NMC) over some free-to-air TV stations showing adult content said he is not against pornography.

James Oberko says their concerns are not to do with pornography in general as people have their avenue for accessing it but airing it on the stations is offensive to the sensibilities of the audience.

“We realised that there is not much the NMC could do, we have always known but act 1993 (449) which sets up NMC, that is the only place you can send your complaints to,” he said on Joy FM’s Ghana Connect news discussion programme Friday.

“We wanted a holistic solution so we copied the Information Minister, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice and National Communications Authority (NCA),” he said.

Mr Oberko explained that they copied the NCA because TV stations when applying for a license to operate they state their programming philosophy in their business proposal.

He, therefore, argues that if these stations are found to be doing something contrary to what they state they would do, then they are short-changing Ghanaians.

According to him, it is not right for people to say there is no law regulating what the stations are doing stating “on December 16, 2016, Act 935 came into force by the National Film Authority.”

In the said law, movies to be aired on TV were classified and those deemed to have pornographic scenes or material were not passed to be shown to the public.

“It is stated in black and white that pornographic material should not be aired on TV. The challenge, however, is that the law was not to be implemented by the NMC.

“What we are doing is to get the TV stations to act responsibly so they don’t offend the moral dignity of the audience,” he said.

Show me the money

Contributing to the discussion, Esther Armah, an international journalist and lecturer disagreed that a clamp down on pornography on TV is not a threat to freedom of expression.

She, however, believes telling businessperson to appeal to morality when there is money to be made is a war society can’t win because pornography is a multimillion industry.

“In no situation will the business when they are given the opportunity to make money and choosing the moral high ground, so we can’t leave them to do the right thing.

She believes the NMC missed out on making good their arguments about their content regulation law (LI224), which the Supreme Court agreed in part with and disagreed in part with.

Mrs Armah said they should have addressed a key aspect of the law like pornography and not try to entirely regulate content in the media.

According to her, the NMC has also missed out in stating what its definition of pornography is so that people will know when they are crossing the line as there still exist grey areas about it.

The lecturer with Webster University said it is time for the nation to look at regulation again.

Timing argument is no brainer

A concerned mother, Hajara, said the argument about airing it late at ghost hours is bogus in these days of social media and technological advancement.

She, however, charged parents to be more responsible and control what their children watch on the TVs in their rooms.

She called for a national regulation of TV, radio stations, magazine and internet cafes which present adult content to children while advising parents to regulate their children’s media habits.  

The director of Creative Writing Academy said it is high time what is broadcasted is reviewed and license revocation should be applied where necessary.