In what was dubbed as the State of the Creative Arts (SOCAA), President of the Creative Arts Council, Mark Okraku Mantey has touched on several issues relating to the current condition of Ghana’s creative arts industry.
Mark Okraku Mantey revealed in an interview on Hitz Fm that his biggest achievement as president of the Creative Arts Council is being a voice for the sector and ably representing it in government.
In March 2017, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture appointed the Hitz FM Programmes Manager to head a three-member Creative Arts Council.
Also appointed to the council was Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, daughter of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and actress Bibi Bright.
Mr Okraku Mantey’s topmost priority as president of the council was to see to the revision, ratification and implementation of the Creative Arts Bill and its passage into Law.
“My biggest achievement is the fact that now, the creative arts industry has one leg in governance. Now, we’ve been able to push the council to an agency.
We’re going to push to pass the bill,” he said on Hitz FM’s morning show Daybreak Hitz, Monday.
President Akufo-Addo during the 2019 State of the Nation Address announced his government had completed work on the Creative Arts Bill for passage into law.
According to him, the government worked to finalize the Creative Arts Bill, leading to the setting up of the Creative Arts Fund.
He further mentioned that “For the first time, in 2018, the government provided support to the Creative Arts Council, and the Creative Arts Masterclass, to build the capacity of Creative Arts practitioners, which has also commenced.”
While delivering his 4th State of the Nation Address few days ago, the President re-echoed plans for the bill saying: “The Creative Arts Industry Bill has been presented to Cabinet for consideration, and, once passed by Parliament, the Act will establish the Creative Arts Fund and an agency to promote the industry.”
The Creative Arts Bill, when passed into law, will also serve as a legal instrument that will help in coordinating and regulating all the sects of the creative arts.
He further narrowed in on the alcohol ban on celebrities and suggested it is misplaced if the Food and Drug Authority’s reason for banning Ghanaian celebrities from advertising alcoholic products is to ensure that minors are protected from being lured into alcoholism.
The astute music producer and brand expert noted that there is the need for a holistic approach instead of the outfit placing such a ban.
“Until we have control on the phone, this TV and radio ban won’t work,” he confidently stated while advising that parents should rather focus on instilling discipline in their children.
“I’m not sure it’s about how the kids see alcohol on television. It is how we mould our kids from our homes. Have you seen any adverts on akpeteshie [local gin]? Meanwhile, it’s the most popular alcohol. If it’s about the kids, why not show commercials when they are asleep?”
On how he hopes to tackle the issue as president of the creative arts council, Mr. Okraku Mantey said he will soon meet the FDA over the issue but will have to make adequate preparations in order to make sense.
About five years ago, the FDA made it known that celebrities could not advertise alcoholic products. It explained that the ban is an adherence to a World Health Organization (WHO) policy.
In the midst of the incessant pressure to lift the ban, Kofi Essel, Head of Industry Support Services Department of the FDA in an interview said the FDA would not allow any popular figure to negatively influence the youth.
He rather asked that celebrities should support the move instead of calling on the authority to rescind its decision on the basis that their incomes had reduced as a result of the ban.
“Can you imagine someone like Shatta Wale or John Dumelo endorsing alcoholic beverages for their fans who are probably below 18?
What will they be telling them? The use of alcohol is as serious as guns, and I would rather plead that celebrities support the cause,” he told Graphic Showbiz.
“Well known persons have the potential to influence their followers who are not legally permitted to possess alcohol or use alcohol.
In view of that guidelines have been set to guide operations of alcoholic beverage companies, including the advertisement of their products and this is the reason well-known persons are not allowed to endorse the products.”
“Small-time dem goban alcohol for parties and then after they will Ban water too then we will drink urine and our sweat! Nonsense!” dancehall artiste Shatta Wale jabbed.
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