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IMANI backs calls for GBC privatization

Policy Think Tank, Imani Africa, has backed calls for the privatization of the state broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation (GBC), to ensure its viability.

According to them, the move will also compel the GBC, which has been in existence since January 1, 1953, to be competitive in the media industry.

The President of Imani Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, said GBC “should be made to be competitive because the media industry is quite profuse with a lot of media houses and there are a lot of radio stations and TV stations, if they are not going to compete, then they can’t survive.”

He also noted the need for the total restructuring of the GBC.

“The government must find avenues of making sure that GBC is diversified in such a way that there is significant uptake by the private sector. It also means there will be some injection of capital and there will be the restructuring of the entire GBC.”

In his view, a total revamp of GBC would not be a challenge, saying that “ it should have been privatized long ago.”

GBC can’t be profit-oriented

But the Ministry of Information has rejected such suggestions, which seem to pop up every time the state broadcaster is embroiled in some controversy.

Last week, the GBC’s Garden City Radio in the Ashanti Region was taken off air after the Electricity Company of Ghana disconnected the facility from the national grid over a debt of about GHc 1.75 million.

The Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, expressed fears that the privatization of the facility would shift the focus of GBC to solely a profit-making entity.

“Some form of public service broadcasting is important. We cannot commercialize everything… If you gave me the GBC today as a private person to run, immediately, I would shut down a number of transmission stations across the country because those areas would not bring me profit as a business fellow.”

He argued that persons in unprofitable areas were also entitled to information so “it is difficult to commercialise an entity like GBC completely.”

When he was a minister-nominee for Information, Mustapha Hamid said he was going to champion moves to make GBC effective and viable to the point where it can generate its own funds.

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