The National Media Commission (NMC) has launched the guidelines on religious broadcasting in the country to address the proliferation of religious excesses on the Ghanaian media landscape.
The document is expected to improve quality in the broadcast of religious activities while setting a benchmark within which all such programmes must fall to bring sanity unto the airwaves.
It, among others, outlined that religious broadcasts should endeavour to promote cultural, moral and ethical values, and respect for personal freedoms, rights, obligations and privacy.
It further states that, “religious broadcasts should not involve any abuse, exploitation, intimidation and manipulation of people, especially the vulnerable; and should reflect respect for fundamental human dignity.”
“Religious broadcast should protect children and vulnerable people, promote and defend public interest, national identity and cohesion.”
Launching the guidelines in Accra yesterday, Chairman of the NMC, Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng urged all media houses to adopt the document to guide such broadcast warning that, “media owners and operators of the broadcast stations will be held accountable for breaches of these guidelines.”
Photo:Dr Alfred Kondua (left) and Nana Gyan Apenteng (second left) with others launching the document
“The purpose of these guidelines is to improve the quality of religious broadcasting to lead to a better understanding of religious practices. We are not prescribing ways of worship for any religion but to set standards and as we say, sanitise the airwaves,” he stated.
Nana Gyan-Apenteng who was appalled by the influx of charlatans in the religious broadcasting space and the associated effects it had on the vulnerable, mostly, women and children urged the “state to take action to protect poor people from the ravaging effects of the worst aspects of abuse under the guise of religion.
“One would want to see religious activities as edifying, inspiring and uplifting. Unfortunately what we see is not always what we would expect as many fall below the standards expected of anything associated with religion,” he lamented.
“The main activities of some of them are to satisfy the ego of their perpetrators and leaders, relentless self promotion with little regards for the rights and sensitivity of people especially vulnerable ones.”
The Chairman believed that “guidelines will make it easier to know those who truly use the media to serve God and humankind and those who use it to exploit the people especially the poor.”
“We will now have a benchmark by which to separate the wolves from the sheep and the chaff from the wheat with the coming of these regulations,” he said.
The Vice-President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mrs Linda Asante challenged the NMC to be bold to sanction media houses that violated the guidelines.
To her, “the media must not sacrifice the sacred national interest of Ghanaians on the altar of revenue generation”, expressing hope that, “these guidelines would help sanitise the airwaves in order to promote the principles of democracy, national unity, peace and stability.”