He said there is no guarantee that commercialising some or all the operations of GBC would make it discharge the functions of serving the public better than a public institution solely financed by the public.
“Small profit-making soon yields to the temptation of capitalist-supernormal profiteering and that when there is a conflict between private media and commitment to the public service, the private media will be in favour of profit,” he added.
The Majority Leader was speaking at a lecture in Accra to mark the 80th anniversary of GBC on the theme: “80 Years of Dependable Broadcasting: Evolving into the Digital Age.”
Speaking on the topic: “Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) at the Crossroads: More Service or Some Money,” Mr Bagbin said should GBC allow commercial interests to override service to the people, the corporation would soon reach a point to sell news to the highest bidder like other media houses do.
He was of the view that the public service broadcasting must be financed by only the public purse and not the government or the private sector, stressing that public interest is different from government interest, political interest and party interest.
Mr Bagbin supports the assertion made by the Media Institute of Southern Africa that “PSB must be neither state broadcasting, nor party broadcasting, nor government broadcasting, nor should it be commercial broadcasting”.
The Legislator said the country’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-political setting need one sane voice of reason to constantly urge decorum, unity in diversity and social integration.
He said due to the essence of the public broadcasting, the Supreme Court in the case of the New Patriotic Party versus Ghana Broadcasting Corporation opined that “the state media are national assets”.
“They belong to the entire community, neither to the abstraction known as the state nor to the government nor to its party. If such national assets were to become the mouthpiece of any one or combination of parties vying for power, democracy will be no more than sham.”
Mr Bagbin said when GBC becomes a true public service broadcaster; its programmes must be dictated by public ownership rather than cash flow.
“Programmes about the marginalised must go beyond teaching and pulpit preaching and instead offer opportunities for disadvantaged persons to discuss their own issues and determine the way forward,” he said.
Mr Richard Kwame Asante, Board Chairman of GBC commended Mr Bagbin for the thought-provoking lecture, adding that the Corporation would work assiduously to position its self as the station of the nation.
Mr Asante affirmed the corporation’s commitment in ensuring a sustainable programme that would bring out the culture and heritage of the country for national cohesion.