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13.04.2004 Regional News

Goaso and Asunafo district to get modern telephone exchanges

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Goaso (B/A) April 12, GNA - Goaso and the neighbouring towns in Asunafo District of Brong Ahafo have been earmarked for modern telephone exchanges and Ghana Telecom will soon install new switches in the area, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Minister of Communications announced at the weekend.

Speaking at the inauguration of privately owned Nananom 92.5 FM radio station at Goaso, the Minister said the infrastructure being built would have enough capacity to support the deployment of the Internet and for use by educational institutions.

He gave assurance of the government's determination to extend ICT to every Ghanaian as captured in the NPP's manifesto to remove all bottlenecks militating against the efficient performance of the telecommunications sector.

This explains the government's radical programme to modernise the communications infrastructure of the country within the shortest space of time, Mr Dapaah added.

The Minister said the government acknowledging the importance of communications had intensified the liberalisation of the country's airwaves to permit wider reach to all communities. He announced that 127 radio broadcast stations had so far been registered and about 85 of them are operational.

"The potential of radio is enormous for use in development and I am particularly delighted that Nananom FM is positioning itself as a centre of excellence around which peace, unity and development of Ahafo and the other catchment areas will revolve", Mr Dapaah noted.

Mr. Dapaah cautioned against the use of the radio to fan ethnic and political hatred, as happened in Rwanda, Bosnia and Cote d'Ivoire and urged broadcasters to tread delicately, especially during this period leading to the December elections.

"We should not be carried away by the excitement of the season and throw caution to the wind. The damage this causes is invariably difficult to control and the scars of conflicts have never healed totally.

"Ghana is our beloved country and we should all endeavour to protect the sovereignty of the Republic", he said, adding that if in the past the monopoly of the airwaves was perceived as a national security strategy, the government regarded the plurality and liberalisation as an effective governance partnership to deliver high-quality information, combat illiteracy, debate issues of general interest and also promote a culture of peace.

Mr Dapaah commended the foresight of the management of the radio station and expressed the hope that it would bring a positive change to the community.

"We shall follow the progress of the station with keen interest and will not hesitate to offer any assistance within our capacity that will be required of us", he said.

Nana Kwadwo Seinti, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister urged the media not only to profess affordable entertainment and commercialism but also to pursue the education of the people "in the purest and wildest sense".

He advised FM stations and presenters to be very circumspect in their reportage "so that we do not say or do anythings that will inflame passions and thus destroy the peace and stability in the country".

"We all have to work in concert to ensure very peaceful, free and fair elections devoid of antagonism in December", the Regional Minister added.

Nana Seinti called for patronage and constructive directions from all and sundry "to keep Nananom 92.5 FM afloat on the stormy seas of professional journalism".

Nana Obeng Amoako Gyampah 1, Nkosuohene of Dadiesoaba and proprietor of the FM station, which has as its motto, "The Station With Ambition" said its vision and mission was "to help remove the scales of ignorance and misinformation from the perspective and perceptive eyes" of the people.

"We shall continue to entertain positive comments as well as constructive criticisms from our cherished listeners. In fact we allocate 60 per cent of our airtime to issues of local and regional importance and the remaining 40 per cent for national and global news", he added.

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