President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association(GIBA), Andrew Danso Ahinkora has emphasized that his outfit is at variance with the new law on the classification of audio-visual contents for television stations as it contravenes an earlier ruling by the supreme court of Ghana.
He made this pronouncement in an interview with Komla Adom on the Mid Day News on TV3, Wednesday, April 7 after the National Film Authority said from 1st May 2021, no television station, cinema theater or movie screening centre shall show any unclassified audiovisual content.
A statement issued and signed by Chair of the Film Classification Committee, Socrates Safo on Wednesday April 7 said a right owner, licensee or assignee who desires to exhibit an audiovisual content shall submit the content to the film classification committee for examination and classification at least 21 days before the intended exhibition.
“As it is stated in the Development and Classification of Film Act 935, all audiovisual content shall previewed and classified before exhibition. After several consultations with various stakeholders of the audiovisual industry in Ghana, the general public is hereby expected to note the following; From 1st May 2021, no television station, cinema theater or movie screening centre shall show any unclassified audiovisual content.”
But Mr. Ahinkora said, “if we operate by the law that they are seeking to implement, it is in contravention of the ruling of the supreme court on a similar law that was put in place, known as the LI 2224, in which the supreme court has made clear pronouncement that certain aspects of the constitution cannot be breached, in fact the constitution cannot be breached at all and we feel certain aspects of the law is in contravention of the constitution, therefore we need to draw attention to it and we need to sort them out before it is implemented”.
“I don’t think it is in the interest of anybody for any part of the law to be implemented and some part of the law suspended. The law is the law, and if it is Act 935 they are working with, it is the totality of Act 935 they are working with, if there are grey areas, they need to work them out before they start implementing Act 935” he pointed out.
When reacting to criticisms that it is the laissez faire contents on television that is promoting the “get rich quick” syndrome among the youth in the country, Mr. Ahinkora replied thus, “we don’t think at the moment the understanding has gone on very well, especially when the reaction has been from what we hear from the grapevine, that is, that we don’t have the total information, the police has not finished their investigations for them to establish the fact that, it is TV this or TV that that they listened to and where they listened to it and who is person they were talking to, who it was, who told them to do something”.
“So I think linking the two, from this moment on, will let it remain as some kind of story which we need to follow and come back to a proper conclusion on. When we talk about content and we say that certain contents are dangerous for children, yes we know this and this is what we are discussing, this is what we are trying to sanitize. When we talk about the fact that there are certain people on our TV airwaves and who are deceiving people, yes it has been there and these are things that we’ve been working on. For instance, GIBA has been having meetings with the chamber of Telecoms to look at the ways of blocking some of these channels that they use to get some of these messages out” he said.
He went on to say that, “in fact one of the things we are doing in recent times, is to call on the NCA so that we come together to track some of these channels and find out what they are doing, how they come by their information and why they do some of these things that they do, I believe strongly that we will be able to get to the bottom of some of these things that they do. But then to say that it is just by watching television that informs the children to do what they are doing”.
“I think that one we are getting it wrong because before television murder was, before television came there was wickedness, so therefore, to conclude that they became wicked, they became murderous, that is if they are found guilty of that, it is because they watched television, there are so many children watching television, I wonder how many of them have gone out there to commit murder or anything of that nature, it is important that we go beyond that, for instance, to find out where these children live, who they speak with and what information they get out of the people they come into contact with, these are things that are very important that we need to look into” he emphasized.
By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana