Deputy Minister-designate of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey has underscored the need for political figures to show interest in content on television, stressing that a concerted effort is needed in the fight against foreign content that seems to be eroding the Ghanaian culture and influencing the youth negatively.
“It took one man [Otto Pfister] to change the way our young people dress. And it was because for that particular season, we watched football and Otto Pfister was the only one we saw. And so, by the time we were through with that particular tournament, our youth started dressing like that. That is the power of television.
“We must have interests as statemen how and what we show on our television. Because if one man, Otto Pfister, can change the whole country, then if we begin to get 10 Otto Pfisters in this country, can we imagine…” Mr. Okraku-Mantey said during his vetting on June 15.
The nominee was providing an answer to a question asked by the Member of Parliament of the Odododiodio, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye. The legislator sort to find out from the renowned music executive his views about making arts and culture a compulsory and examinable subject in schools.
The MP was of the greatest conviction that the move would be helpful, suggesting that “our children will become imbibed in our own arts and culture so that we’ll reduce the influence of these foreign cultures”.
Okraku-Mantey stressed that Nii Lante Vanderpuye’s “suggestion or question will touch on the broadcast law as well as our commitment to changing the narratives.”
The question and response triggered another concern from the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament who doubles as the Chairman of the Appointment Committee of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu.
He expressed that the influx of foreign content is problematic hence, institutions responsible for television content should do the needful.
“It’s very interesting. I’m not very much of a television person. I hardly watch, apart from news. But anytime I go home from work, what I see is something that is not familiar to me, it’s not Ghanaian even though they are purporting to show it in Ghanaian languages. I find it very offensive so I go straight to stay in my bedroom.
“You have the Media Commission but it is growing. It’s not limited to one television station; it appears to be the order of the day… What happened to the local series? Why have we lost those content on our television?”
In response, Mr. Okraku-Mantey said one of the solutions to the challenge is producing compelling content.
“I remember a few weeks ago when Dr. Awal came here, he mentioned he was going to set up a studio that was going to take care of our film and music industry. We must be ready to compete as a country as well because even if the people of Ghana do not consume via television, they’ll consume via phone because of online activities so we must be ready to shoot films that are exportable, that we can also consume based on our culture.
“At the moment, we are not able to compete because of standards. That is why I support Dr. Awal in the studio that he wants to build…,” Okraku-Mantey said.