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26.05.2005 General News

Media key to the development of democracy

By GNA

Accra, May 26, GNA- Mrs. Mary Carlin Yates, the United State Ambassador to Ghana on Thursday acknowledged the media as the key for the development and promotion of multi-party democracy.

"A free and open media is one of the key elements of democracy. When people have choices in what to listen to and what to read, they can better form their own opinions about politics and about the world," Mrs Yates stated at the formal outdoor of Voice of America (VOA Accra 98.1 FM).

The International Broadcasting Bureau of the United States of America in collaboration with the Public Affairs section of the US Embassy in Accra jointly inaugurated the station to relay transmission from its base in the US to Ghana. Mrs. Carlin Yates attributed Ghana's rapid democratic development to dramatic increase of FM Radio stations in the country over the last few years. "This is another encouraging sign of Ghana's democratic credentials setting the pace for other African countries to emulate." The US Ambassador said VOA establishment in the country offer Ghanaians another medium of information, communications and technological advancement.

The new station to transmit 24-hours would provide news about Africa and the rest of the world. Ms. Shirley A.Boctwey, Deputy Minister of Information called on VOA to use the medium of radio to change the negative perception and reportage about Africa.

"Africa is a continent and not a state, the truth about Africa must be told positively to erase the negative impression created by the Western media."

Mrs Botchwey urged the media to promote Africa's development agenda, growth of multi-party democracy, tourism potential and the socio-economic opportunities.

Giving statistics of the media landscape in the country, Mr Benjamin A Ntim, Deputy Minister of Communications said 71 per cent of Ghanaians own a radio set, about two million owns a telephone, 87 functioning media houses.

He urged broadcasters and media houses to adhere to the rules and regulations governing its operation in the country, which includes observance of fair competition, frequency transmission modalities and transparency.

He said radio continues to be the largest medium of communication and urged the listeners and host of programmes to utilize the phone-in programmes on both radio and Television effectively for the benefit and growth of the industry.

Programmes to be relayed on the airwaves include; Day Break Africa, Africa News, Sonny Side of Sports, Country Hits, American Jazz and Classic Rock music, Talk to America, Hip Hop Connection, Nightline Africa, Africa World Tonight, Press Conference USA, Straight Talk Africa, World of Music and Healthy Living. The rest were News Review, Africa World Tonight, News Review, Reporters Roundtable, Music Mix, Roots and Branches of Classic Rock, and Top 20 World County Hits songs. 26 May 05

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