BY: Linda Dede Nyanya Godji
The Director General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Prof. Amin Alhasan has called on government and relevant stakeholders to initiate discussions on sustaining radio especially community radio stations in the country.
Prof. Alhasan, pointed out that the core mandate of radio stations serving as a platform for learning, educating and informing the public is being threatened by challenges such as high cost of management and license renewal.
He has therefore suggested a discussion on the implementation of a “Public Media Tax” which will go a long way to ensure the financial sustainability of community radio stations across the country.
Prof. Amin Alhasan was speaking at a virtual 10th edition of the World Radio Day celebrations in Accra today. The celebrations focused on “New World; New Radio, Evolution Innovation and Connection.
The event was organized by Farm Radio International with support from UNESCO, Global Affairs of Canada, the Ministry of Information, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the Ghana Community Radio Network.
The Director General of GBC again noted that taking recognizance of advancement in new technologies in radio, the issue of access should also be considered. “Notwithstanding the huge relevance of radio in nation building, there are still districts in Ghana without a community radio, the idea and introduction of FM technology was to allow the introduction of several languages in broadcasting. However, there are still some language groups who do not have radio broadcast in their own languages.” He said
These challenges he indicated go a long way to affect radio access despite its huge relevance in society.
Speaking on innovation, the founder and Executive Director for the Centre for Media Analysis, Dr. Kennedy Messan Mawugbe stated the extreme interlacing of English with local languages on radio talk shows is actually impeding the quest to influence radio content, access and participation.
‘As we celebrate the innovative aspect of World radio day, there is the need to address the new lingual Franca Ghanaians are subjected to on daily basis on radio. Radio is supposed to have a prescribed language. “Per my analysis, 77 percent of the language usage on radio morning shows is English with 23 percent being Akan. How can the people on radio ensure that quality presentation as instrument mobilisation. This objective is defeated if the people cannot understand and comprehend the discourse on radio”.
Dr. Mawugbe called for collaboration between media houses and the institutions of training in languages to build the capacity of local broadcasters.
The celebration of the innovativeness of radio will be a mirage in Ghana if the issue of the extreme interlacing of English with the local languages on radio is not addressed. He stressed
Speaking on the connectivity of radio, the Executive Director of Media foundation for West Africa, (MFWA), Mr. Sulemana Braimah, stated that radio in Ghana has advanced in terms of the ecosystem, diversity, especially with the benefits of connectivity which is evident in the education during the outbreak of covid-19.
Touching on t( sustainability, Mr. Braimah noted that with or without Covid, the Ghanaian economy cannot sustain the over 400 radio stations across the length and breadth of the country, Hence, the need to address the lack of transparency on the allocation of frequencies and ownership adding that if there is a community ownership of these radio stations, it will go a long way to ensure their sustainability.
The country Director for Farm Radio International, Ben Fiafor also said radio has the capacity to survive all challenges that comes with technology adding that his outfit has partnered over 1000 community radio stations across sub-Saharan Africa to ensure their sustainability as radio and technology evolve.
He disclosed that Farm radio International has also recognized that integrating radio programs with other ICT tools will also ensure that beyond the listening of the radio program, the listener also get an additional support.
Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative in Ghana stated that Radio continues to play a vital role across the world and in Ghana its influence in enhancing the multiplicity of languages cannot be overlooked.
He also noted that as radio is evolving, there is the need to establish more community radio stations to ensure that radio continues to re-echo happenings in the world to the rural folks.