The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, has appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to support the media in the country with a stimulus package to secure their continuous existence.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has had a toll on the finances of the media, especially the print, which suffered greatly under the three-week partial lockdown because they were unable to make sales.
He suggested that the media establishments could be considered under the government’s package for small and medium enterprises.
Meeting with President
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh made the appeal when the leadership of media organisations and the Managing Directors of the state media establishments met with the President at the Jubilee House last Friday.
GET CORONAVIRUS UPDATES HERE
The media organisations were the National Media Commission (NMC), the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) while the state media establishments were the Graphic Communications Group Limited, the New Times Corporation, the Ghana News Agency and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.
The meeting, which was at the invitation of the President, was meant to brief his guests about the steps government had taken so far regarding COVID-19 and seek their opinions on the way forward.
Clifton Home Easter Promo
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh commended the government for the stimulus package announced for small and medium enterprises.
He, however, noted that even though some of the media establishments were supposed to be big in real terms, they were, in reality, small because of their output and other indicators.
The NMC boss urged the government to look into how the media establishments could be supported under the provision for small and medium enterprises so that they did not collapse after COVID-19 because they still had significant roles to play in the development of the country.
He said the issues about the survival of the media and others had been documented and would be presented to the President and his team.
The NMC Chairman urged the government to consider the media in the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) since most practitioners worked close to frontline workers, with others going to the theatres to see what was going on to be able to tell the story better.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh, who is also a lecturer in media studies at some universities in the country, said from the onset of the outbreak of the pandemic, the commission admonished and appealed to the media to bear in mind that it was not the period for those in the mainstream media to crack jokes, produce fake news and pick any social media content and use.
He said one of the fundamental things the media was supposed to understand was that they should not put out information whose source they could not confirm and verify.
With such a flop, he posited that the media would be endangering lives, including their own, while drawing back societal development.
“This is not the time for, excuse my language, silly jokes. As the elders have told us sufficiently, every animal runs but when the cow starts running, everybody takes it for madness. Because, other people can make jokes of our situation but that should not come from the media,” Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh admonished.
President Akufo-Addo encouraged the media to use resource persons with specialist information to discuss and explain issues about the pandemic to the public.
While acknowledging that politicians would want to comment on everything, the President stated that, for the time being, he did not see the politics involved in what was happening.
“What we want to see is as much as possible the airwaves being filled with the information that the scientists have,” he stated.