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03.09.2004 General News

Interdiction of GBC staffs against Constitution

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Accra, Sept. 3, GNA - The Minority in Parliament on Friday described as "unconstitutional" the recent action by the Management of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in interdicting four staffs for a story on Ghana Airways.

A statement issued in Parliament and signed by the Mr John Mahama, the Minority Spokesman for Communication, said the action by the Management was contrary to Article 162 (4) of the Constitution, which provided that Editors and publishers shall not be penalised or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications.

The Minority said the action by the Management was high-handed and appeared to be calculated to intimidate the staff of the Corporation in the run-up to the December polls.

The four are Mr Charles Kofi Bucknor, Director of Television, Mr Emmanuel Vorgbe, Mr Francis Sasu and Nana Yaw Duodu.

The Minority called for the immediate and unconditional lifting of the interdiction against the GBC staff and urged the National Media Commission to be up and doing in carrying out the duty imposed it by the Constitution.

The statement said the interdiction of the four persons had set bad precedent and sent a negative signal to staff of the state-owned media that they risked being sanctioned if they published materials that turned out to be embarrassing to Government.

The statement expressed regret that the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) that was "previously belligerent and vociferous in the defence of the rights of its members" had remained silent over the plight of the interdicted GBC staff and the Free Press reporter, who was recently manhandled by the Police.

"The Minority is surprised at the present docile attitude of civil society in the face of abuse of workers and people's rights under the NPP Administration."

It also declared as unfair the extensive coverage given to President John Agyekum Kufuor on his campaign trips across the country while the Presidential candidates of all the other contesting parties had virtually been blacked out of the state-owned broadcast network.

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