Former Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South, Mr Fritz Baffour, has indicated that although the influx of foreign content has a colossal effect on our media in Africa, we would have look at the history of media in Africa and the content used in the past.
The celebrated and multitalented creative actor and politician in an interview said, the introduction of radio and television in Africa came through a foreign medium.
The first contact with radio he noted was foreign content and although in the 1950’s we made an attempt, the major sources were foreign.
The willingness to establish our own content was there and the late Dr Nkrumah led the charge in Ghana, he suggested.
The intention towards the establishment of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in 1965, was to help raise awareness of our African dignity and culture
The GBC TV he said did extremely well in the first two decades ‘’but I think that when we opened the airwaves to various commercial broadcasting entities, we did not regulate and we did not work hard to have put in place the kind of interventions that would establish the need for local content. ‘’
The needed resources were also not put in place to help us back up our industry.
‘’We did not back up our industry with the money that was required. We should have done some fund raising, investing in our culture in terms of films.’’
Mr Fritz Baffour explained further that, it is cheaper to buy foreign films as compared to producing one in Ghana.
The influence of foreign films has affected the way we dress, talk and behave with people faking their ascent and trying to speak like Americans and the British, he lamented.
‘’The influence of foreign films is palpable…you can see it…the influence is there but the only way we can stern the tide and have our dignity is to look at our rich culture and heritage,’’ he added.
He was quick to add foreign influence is not all negative but underscored the need for Ghanaians to appreciate their own culture and heritage.
Ghana he stated is endowed with creative minds and historians who can help us appreciate our heritage through their creative works.
When asked about the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association’s protest against the decision by government to seed the digital space to StarTimes, a Chinese company he expressed a different opinion.
According to GIBA, StarTimes is scheming to take over the digital space in Ghana.
The Chinese company has secured a deal with government that will see it extend satellite TV to over 300 villages across the country.
The communications ministry believes the move will help Ghanaians in rural communities to become alert on national issues and be involved in development since they will access to content about national projects.
But GIBA believes the move is a cover up by the Chinese firm to push them out of business and control the national space.
“The Agenda of StarTimes is not only aimed at profit or the indoctrination of Chinese culture (names, language, food, etc.) and programmes, but a larger mandate to take over the control of the broadcast space in strategic African countries including Ghana, which is crucial for the China game. Whereas today, China does not allow foreign ownership of media and for that matter, will not allow the African broadcast media the space to trade our African channels in their country. Why then should African states give our broadcast space in the fashion as we are experiencing at the moment”.
But commenting on it, Fritz Baffour said, he does not see anything wrong from the Chinese point of view, rather, his concern is from the Ghanaian point of view adding, ‘’the thing is that; if they do so, how is it adversely going to affect us? Have we thought about it deeply? We have been very lazed in the promotion of our culture and making it viable in our society. The Chinese are looking for the interest of their country. We [Ghanaians] haven’t over the years. We have been lackadaisical about it. We have not put our money where our, mouth is,’’ he said.
Ghana has the richest culture because of our location and the change would be a multi facet one but government should lead the change and revamp our museum law, the broadcasting law and get a film authority to change the narratives.