The payment of TV licence in some European countries such as Spain did not survive despite the aggression of state apparatus and I am convinced it will not work here in Ghana too.
It isn’t that there is no law because there is one, but that we are not spectators to allow a law that is not fit for modern Ghana to hold us hostage.
The creation of the Special TV Licence Courts by Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, at the request of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) is purely an invitation of trouble for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), particularly when the state broadcaster has been pathetic in its line of work.
I believe Ghanaians will gladly shell out their cash to pay the TV licence if the institution the money is going to, has demonstrated over the years that it is deserving of our while. GBC, which manages Ghana Television (GTV) does not need free money.
The state broadcaster has been overtaken in the media landscape by private TV stations despite its state-of-the-art equipment and huge numbers. It should be made to work for its money like the other stations that are doing better than it is.
I have noticed how keenly some legal practitioners are campaigning for the payment of TV licence in the face of mass opposition from the public that is ever ready to go to jail for non-payment.
While some Ghanaians may not agree with these students of the law, I think they are merely stating the position of the law.
Section 1(a) of the Television Licensing (Amendment) Law, 1991 states that “any person who contravenes any provision of this law or regulation shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.”
The setting up of the court was to ensure the enforcement of the law and not to terrorise the public as some claimed.
But I think our country has to grow up if it is to be respected in the international comity of nations. We clearly have issues with the kind of content that goes on our screens and the National Media Commission (NMC) has been weak in regulating that.
It is good payment of the licence has been put on hold by the GBC Board to allow for more consultation. If we are to pay any money to GBC, it has to lead the pack and be a shining example by upping its performance.
The NMC must stop hiding in the shadows to execute its functions when there are blatant breaches of Ghana’s laws by some media houses.
I’m convinced Ghana’s enemy is indiscipline and I am surprised we pay the salaries of people whose duty it is to enforce the law but please don’t. What country is this?