Accra, Nov. 4, GNA - Publishers of The Ghana Palaver, a private newspaper, on Friday launched: "The Save the Ghana Palaver Fund" to enable it to pay a two billion-cedi court fine slapped on the paper. Mr Jojo Bruce-Quansah, Managing Editor, accompanied by his Deputy, Mr Ekow Essuman launched the fund in Accra to solicit financial assistance from the general public to pay the damages to save the paper from being closed down.
"The Ghana Palaver is in distress. It has a hangman's noose around its neck, set on the road to its Calvary. We are to pay two billion cedis, as we stand here, or get The Ghana Palaver closed down," Mr Bruce-Quansah said.
"Our destiny now lies in the hands of Ghanaians, who cherish the truth, who want to read the other side of the story and Ghanaians, who want to defend our democratic values, to come to the aid of The Ghana Palaver...," he said.
According to the Managing Editor, the fine was damages slapped on the paper by the court to be paid to Mr George Kufuor - a relation of President John Agyekum Kufuor - and Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Works and Housing.
He said in the case of Mr Kufuor, who is to be paid 440 million cedis as damages, the Paper's cited him in a story as being member of the Board of Directors of a transport company, "Easy Link" the arrival of whose fleet of buses, "turned the law on the right-hand drive upside down".
In the case of Mr Owusu-Agyemang, who is also to be paid 1.5 billion cedis in damages, Mr Bruce-Quansah said it published a story about the operations of the Minister's non-governmental organisation, which had earlier appeared on the Internet and published by the Chronicle on its front page.
The said story, according to Mr Bruce-Quansah was also lifted from the Chronicle by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and included in its campaign document for Election 2004.
"The Ghana Palaver only serialised the NDC document, which contained the story, one of the many allegations made in that piece. And for that the Ghana Palaver alone is being singled out and asked to pay 1.5 billion cedis damages. None other has been held liable."
He, therefore, appealed to Ghanaians "who stand by the truth", to prove their worth and contribute freely to the Fund through the Account Number 0100107131900 of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited, Ring Road Central Branch in Accra.
Mr Bruce-Quansah said already some sympathisers of the paper, both local and abroad, had contributed to the Fund and their names would be published later while the leadership of the NDC, sympathisers of the paper were also in the process of coming to the aid of the paper to enable it to settle its debt.
He, however, assured the paper's readers that The Ghana Palaver was in good standing and would continue to be on the newsstand.