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01.06.2004 Regional News

Establish Radio Stations in Communities - Regional Director, GBC.

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Bolgatanga, May 31, GNA - The Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Mr. Adam Cockra, on Monday called for the establishment of community radio stations to be used to propagate ideas for community development that would enrich the lives of the people.

He thus appealed to the National Media Commission (NMC), the Ministry of Information, District Assemblies and NGOs to encourage and help communities in this venture, saying these stations should not be commercially oriented, but owned and managed by the people.

Mr. Cockra was speaking at a symposium under the theme, "Radio, Prospects and Challenges in Nation Building', organized by the Upper East Regional branch of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) to mark this year's World Press Freedom Day in the region.

He noted that with the liberalization of the airwaves, the many FM stations springing up would reach more people not only to create political awareness, but also educate them on topical issues like health, agriculture, education, water and sanitation and many other development issues.

The GBC Regional Director urged Radio Station Owners to consider the significance of quality programming, employ and train the right calibre of persons so as to ensure professionalism in the broadcasting industry.

Mr. Cockra regretted that some Radio Stations were left under the care of amateur presenters, whose over zealousness did not help the people.

"Radio should be a tool for awareness creation, reconciliation, unity, development and progress rather than a facility for fanning conflicts and chaos. It is only when radio presenters stress on issues that unite the people rather those that divide them that they can be regarded as worthy Ghanaians", he said.

Mr. Mahami Salifu, the Regional Minister, in a speech read for him by his Special Assistant, Mr. Paul Alloah, said radio had played a very important role in the socio-political history of the country, adding that the Media should be used to build bridges of understanding, peace and reconciliation.

"The quality of your reportage during the political campaigns will determine the direction we have to go as a nation. You should strive to be impartial in your reportage in order not to inflame passions", he emphasized.

The Registrar of the Regional House of Chiefs, Mr. Raymond K. Maaldu, noted that the use of local languages in the FM stations was very helpful as many people in the communities listen to the news and other issues in their dialects.

The GJA Regional Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Issahaq, noted with concern that journalists were still harassed, assaulted and murdered in some parts of the world.

Last year, 36 Journalists worldwide were killed in the line of duty, 13 have been killed during the Iraqi war and many more are in imprisonment, he said.

He said democracy and development suffer when journalists are constrained in their work and called on all to ensure that the Media work in safety and without fear.

Mr. Issahaq, who is also the Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the other aspect of press freedom enjoins journalists to be more responsible to their audience, urging members of the GJA to endeavour to keep their side of the bargain by observing the "fundamental principles of truth, objectivity and fair play".

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