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30.05.2004 General News

Focus on nation building -Speakers tell radio stations

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Kumasi, May 30, GNA - Speakers at the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association's (GJA) celebration of the World Press Freedom Day in Kumasi on Friday stressed the need for radio stations to focus attention on nation building.

The speakers contended that since radio reaches a wider audience in the country, their programmes should therefore, reflect national aspirations.

They were Professor Kwame Arhin, a former Director of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon and Mr George Sarpong, a private legal practitioner and lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi.

The celebration had as its theme: "Radio, prospects and Challenges In Nation Building".

Professor Arhin said radio stations should be able to research into what they present so as to be able to educate the people better. He said the nation building was based on two factors, economic and democracy and that it was imperative for Ghanaians to strive for true democracy.

Professor Arhin advised media practitioners to be guided by ethics so as to distinguish between a person's work and the person himself. He disagreed with the notion that phone-ins during radio discussions should be censored and said the advocates had not defined the basis for the censorship.

Professor Arhin commended the radio stations for doing a good job since, he said, they were facilitating dialogue between the ruled and the ruler.

Mr Sarpong believed that if radio stations will have the freedom guaranteed the media by the constitution, it would go a long way to concretise the political stability of the country.

He called for the encouragement of radio discussions and phone-ins but cautioned people not to be hypocritical and abuse the opportunity.

Mr Sarpong pointed out that there were a lot of knowledgeable people in the society, who were neither in government nor in positions of trust but had a lot of wisdom to contribute towards nation building and must therefore not be muzzled.

He suggested to radio presenters to refine their programmes so as not to attract malicious comments radio discussions or phone-ins and said this could be done by presenters not allowing volatile statements to be made bluntly, adding that they should be in absolute control of their programmes.

"We need the radio phone-ins and panel discussions because the people must certainly be linked to the executive".

Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, Ashanti Regional first vice-chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), called on the radio stations to put the nation above their personal agenda in the performance of their duties.

"It is only by this that we can push the nation's development agenda forward and sustain the gains made so far."

Mr F.A. Jantuah, a senior citizen, was of the view that the freedom of radio was subjective since the proprietor had control over the station and by implication therefore, controlled the presenters. Oheneba Adusei Poku, the Akyempimhene of Kumasi, who chaired the function, said nation building should be paramount in the minds of all radio stations.

They should, he said therefore, help the government to hold the country together for future generations.