Three state institutions under the Ministry of Information have been earmarked for retooling and support to enable them to discharge their mandate. They are the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), the Information Services Department (ISD) and the Ghana Publishing Company (GPC). The Minister designate for the ministry, Mr Mustapha Abdul Hamid, made a pledge to support the three ailing institutions when he took his turn at the Appointments Committee of Parliament yesterday. Answering a question on the current poor state of the GPC, he said he would take advantage of the situation to retool the company to make it competitive on the market. “We will find avenues for retooling the GPC. I will try, as minister, to raise the required funding for it to retool. Once it retools, we can appeal to other ministries and agencies to give the company jobs,” he stated. The Information Minister designate also stated that his vision for the ISD would be to retool it with vans and computers to enable the department to disseminate information through its village and outreach programmes. Resourcing GBC On the best way to make the state broadcaster, the GBC, perform its role better to become a national broadcaster, he stated: “We have to work at making GBC a BBC to make it a global player.” Responding to a question on how GBC could be helped to stop incurring more cost on the collection of TV licence fees than the revenue derived from the collection, as pertained currently, Mr Hamid said the broadcaster had already begun using some electronic platforms to collect the fees which cut down cost. He also promised to find out the current state of the Broadcasting Bill and make sure it was passed by Parliament. The nominee told the committee that he would tour the country to ensure that bad television reception in Ho, Bole and other areas was improved. “The GBC has begun a modernising process and I am hopeful that phases five and six will solve the problems,” he added. Digital migration On the issue of what was left for Ghana to migrate from analogue to digital television and whether the final phase should be relocated to the Ministry of Information from the Ministry of Communications, Mr Hamid said his priority would be how to accelerate the process to meet the September 2017 deadline. He said he would rather work with the Communication Ministry on the final processes, instead of angling over where it should be. When the Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhaji Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini, reminded him of a statement he had made on ethnicity on the airwaves during the electioneering, the nominee said he would try not to pollute the atmosphere with ethnic comments, as the Constitution frowned on such comments. “Mr Chairman I regret the polluted political environment that enables people from both sides of the political divide to throw such invectives into the public space and poison the atmosphere,” he said. He pledged to work to rid the environment of such pollution if he was given the nod, saying: “I will contribute my quota to ensure that we have a sane environment where we will not insult, attack and mudsling one another,” he stated. Media fund On how best he would utilise the Media Fund for the benefit of journalists, Mr Hamid indicated that capacity building would be one of the areas the fund would cater for.
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