Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister, has called on the media and the people of Dagbon to join hands and seek genuine peace for the development of the area. 'As media practitioners, your societal responsibility should transcend parochial group interest. Put aside your personal and partisan emotions and subscribe to peace for all. Let us sincerely and genuinely seek peace for the region's development,' he said.
Alhaji Idris was speaking at the fifth anniversary celebration of 'Diamond FM', a Tamale-based independent radio station, last Wednesday. He called on the people of Dagbon to lift themselves from the confines of ethnicity and partisanship and promote lasting peace and unity in the area.
He also urged them to discard the divisive labels of 'ethnicity', 'religion', 'partisan political parties' and 'royal gates', which he said were making it impossible to chart a new path for peace in the region.
The Regional Minister suggested the institution of a 'Marshal Plan' for the three Northern Regions to bridge the development gap between the north and the south. He commended the management and staff of Diamond FM for their pioneering role in educating the people in the region and appealed to the station to maintain its objectivity, fair and balanced reportage as it had done over the years for others to emulate.
Mr Frank Agyekum, Deputy Minister for Information and National Orientation, urged radio stations and journalists to remain advocates of peace and not vessels of destruction. He said government was very mindful of the important role the media played in reforming and transforming society, helping propagate government agenda and promoting peace and development, hence the expunging of the criminal libel law.
He advised journalists and FM radio stations not to take undue advantage of the absence of the law and act irresponsibly. Mr Mark Woyongo, Chief Executive Officer of Diamond FM, called on journalists and natives to embrace unity and collectively agitate for the bridging of the widening gap between the north and the south.
He expressed regret that no journalist or an individual from the north had done anything to highlight the myriad of problems confronting people displaced by recent floods that hit the area.
Mr Woyongo gave the assurance that his organisation would not engage in any unhealthy competition with other stations and it would also not deviate from its set objectives so that it would continue to win public confidence. He appealed to government to review the tax payments by FM stations practising in rural areas where he said advertisements were generally low.