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16.07.2003 General News

Asante Youth Association protests to NMC

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..over conduct of sections of the media Kumasi, July 16, GNA - The Asante Youth Association (AYA) has protested to the National Media Commission (NMC) over what it described as malicious innuendoes in the media with regard to the Asantehene's innovative plans to bring development to Asanteman and Ghana as a whole.

It cited the World Bank's Partnership with Traditional Authorities Project, for which the Bank had given a grant of five million dollars and said discussions in the media had been based on complete falsehood. AYA made reference to publications and discussions in the Palaver and the Searchlight newspapers, Joy FM Radio and Metro TV and said they were calculated to tarnish the image of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene.

Mr Anthony Atta-Poku, Chairman and Charles Kwadwo Appiah, Secretary, jointly signed the protest letter.

It said, "it is a very sad commentary for journalism in Ghana, to stoop so low as to criticise such an innovative concept which the World Bank wants to initiate as a pilot project and to be replicated not only in other regions of Ghana but also in other parts of the world". The Association noted that Asanteman was part of Ghana and that "if the Bank within its own parameters has decided to give a grant or loan of five million dollars to Asanteman for development, there is nothing wrong with it".

It said there were numerous examples of loans and grants the government had contracted for projects specific to regions and communities in the country.

"When people, who are expected to inform, educate and direct society to know better decide to peddle lies, we fear that they are fomenting trouble for the society".

The AYA pointed out that press freedom was not a licence to vilify authorities and leaders in the society, adding, "we want them to be reminded that their liberty is not a licence for them to ride roughshod on the liberty of others".

It said it was unfortunate that "newspapers and social commentators completely distorted facts and figures of the project to suit their own wicked and blatant lies against the Asante King and Asanteman.

It said it had evidence that the attacks and lies were part of a mischievous political propaganda to deter the Kufuor Administration from undertaking any major project in the Ashanti Region.

"We want to assure such propagandists that their scheme will fail. For Asanteman is bigger than any political party and the position of our King is sacrosanct and does not depend nor need any political party to survive." The AYA demanded complete retraction of all malicious statements and mischievous comments made in the media and unqualified apology to the Asantehene by the offending media houses. It warned that it would not accept the peddling of lies and falsehood against the Asantehene and the Asanteman for political expediency.

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