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01.12.2005 General News

Ghanaian media must be circumspect - Dan Botwe

By GNA
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Accra, Dec. 1, GNA - Mr Daniel Kweku Botwe, Minister of Information, on Thursday called on the Ghanaian media to be circumspect about the information they published on issues concerning the recent arrest of Mr Eric Amoateng, NPP MP for Nkoranza North, in New York for possessing narcotic drugs.

He noted that it was unfortunate that some Ghanaian media houses had published information believed to be false about the matter on their websites, without due consideration of the negative effect of such publications on the image of the country.

"The foreign media have done enough damage to the image of African countries while they protect the image of their respective countries but our own media fall short of protecting national interest when need be," Mr Botwe told journalists at a press conference in Accra.

He explained that the recent claims by one Dr Busia to be the attorney for the incarcerated MP and thus had first hand information from the MP to the effect that some government officials were involved in the drug trafficking with him, had been given wide publication by the local media even though it had been found to be false.

"If our local media had been a little more careful with that sensitive and false information they would have done this country a lot of good by not re-echoing the false claims of some impostor," he said. Mr Botwe said at a recent Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Information Ministers conference in Kuala Lumpur, it was recommended that countries of the NAM should form their own Non-Aligned News Network (NNN), with an international status to present positive media about themselves.

He cited the example of news networks in Europe, which projected the positive side of that Continent and said virtually nothing about war-torn Kosovo and yet foreign media such as BBC, CNN, VOA and others would not stop talking about war-torn zones in Africa anytime they spoke about the African Continent.

Mr Botwe said the NAM Information Ministers' conference deliberated on "Advancing Information and Communication Collaboration Towards a More Dynamic NAM", with the rationale to replace the current ineffective NAM News Agencies Pool (NANAP) with the more dynamic NNN.

Mr Botwe said the objective was to improve communication links within NAM through the establishment and use of a common Information and Communication Technology (ICT) platform.

"Ghana definitely shares the common concern generally expressed by my colleagues...that the use of ICT for the development of our nations is rather unfortunately tilted to the disadvantage of the developing nations, the bulk of whom are NAM member countries."

Forty-eight of the 114 NAM countries are in Africa.

He said media houses in the NAM countries had been given copies of the recommendations of the conference, which took place between November 19 and November 22, 2005, to read carefully and make their input for the formulation of a mutually beneficial guiding document in the establishment of the NNN.

Mr Botwe said beside the ongoing process in the NAM to establish NNN, he and his colleagues from West Africa had also initiated a process to establish information links among themselves. He expressed the hope that both the State and private media would take a careful look at the recommendations from the conference and document their input in readiness for a forum between them and the Ministry.

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