A forum on media ethics and transparency in the award of radio frequencies has strongly recommended the devolution of the National Media Commission (NMC) to the districts to enable it guide media practice more effectively.

The forum, a roundtable discussion that featured participants from the media, academia, traditional authorities, Civil Society Organisations and prominent individuals, also recommended that the NMC and the National Communications Authority (NCA) engage in deeper collaboration in playing their respective roles.

The forum, a collaboration between the Graphic Communications Group Limited and Star Ghana, further called for the amalgamation of the codes of ethics of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association; the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana; the Community Radio Network; and the Ghana Journalists Association into a national media code to be made available nationwide.

The recommendations which were contained in a communique issued at the end of the day-long deliberations, asked journalism practitioners to adhere to the code of ethics while the code need to be incorporated into their contract of employment.

“A journalist is one who practices journalism for his or her livelihood and must be held to the code of ethics,” said the communique, and demanded that certain minimum standards should be set for media houses while all personnel including media owners subject themselves to continuous professional development.

On the specific subject of transparency in the allocation of frequencies, the forum observed that there was an urgent need to pass the Broadcasting bill into law, while the NCA needed to “involve the NMC in the allocation of frequency, with possibility of merging the 2 bodies.”

The communiqué called for clear criteria and guidelines for the allocation of frequencies, as well as a review of the NCA Act to take into consideration the democratic allocation of frequencies.

There is also the need to limit the number of frequencies that are given to one organization especially the commercial frequencies, the communiqué said, urging the NCA to declare available frequencies and also who owns what.

The forum will be replicated across the country in the coming days.

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