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29.09.2004 General News

Banning of radio phone-ins: Stab in the back of democracy

By GNA

Accra, Sept. 29, GNA - Participants at a Political Party Youth Forum on Wednesday called on Media Institutions to adopt in-house mechanism to control the menace pose by radio phone-in contributors to national security.

The participants noted: "Outright banning of radio phone-ins would be a stab in the back of democracy, and invariably, free and uncoordinated speech on airwaves would create democratic anarchy and jeopardize national cohesion."

The participants, made up of media practitioners, politicians and the academia were commenting on "The 2004 Elections And Phone-In Programming: Which Way?

The forum was organised in Accra on Wednesday by Youth-Network for Human Rights and Democracy (You-Net) to offer youth wings of political parties a common platform to deliberate on national issues as well as present their agenda for the Elections 2004.

Mr George Sarpong, Executive Director of You-Net described phone-in programmes as a means of sustaining democracy but suggested that presenters, guest and the syndicate callers needs to be trained to ensure decorum.

The public also needs to appreciate and understand the viewpoints of opposing political opponents.

Mr Sarpong challenged the proponent of ban on radio phone-ins to present a proposal for a national debate on the subject; we need in-depth scientific information on the dangers of radio phone-in. The Chairman of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr Laary Bimi was quoted to have called for a moratorium to be placed on phone-ins to radio programmes to prevent any misguided statements from inflaming passions which could result in unrest.

According to Mr Bimi, the Phone-in callers have the tendency of inciting others to disrupt the democratic order.

The National Democratic Congress, the New Patriotic Party, People's National Convention, EGLE Party and the Great Consolidated Popular Party all supported the need to sustain radio phone-ins.

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