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07.12.2005 Regional News

Media urged to stop political cacophony

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Accra, Dec. 7, GNA - The Reverend William W. Dontoh, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church (AGC) Ghana, on Tuesday deplored what he called political 'cacophony' in the Ghanaian media and cautioned that there could be grave consequences to the entire nation. He said: "Lately we hardly tune in to any FM station without hearing heated political debates filled with insults and insinuations over issues that could generate undesirable events in the country.

"It is high time our media stopped fanning the political embers because in the face of the consequences, the politicians always have the opportunity to run out of the country and we, including the media house operators will be left to suffer," he warned. Rev Dontoh made the call when he and other members of the Executive Presbytery of the AGC paid a courtesy call on the Management and Staff of the Ghana News Agency in Accra to acquaint themselves with the work of the Agency and to inform them about the 75th anniversary celebration of the Church. He also noted that but a few news items read on the FM stations, most of which were attributed to the GNA, most news items on the FM stations were not balanced enough, saying that was also a cause for alarm. Rev. Dontoh praised the GNA for the accuracy, balanced reporting and professionalism that characterised its news items and appealed to the government support the GNA well for it to continue providing the balance and authentic news reporting needed for national development.

Nana Appau Duah, Acting General Manager of GNA noted that GNA was still a force to reckon with in news reporting in the country, saying that various newspapers and FM stations continued to subscribe to GNA stories. He said it had become easy to set up private newspapers and FM stations in this country because they could always depend on GNA to provide the news for them to carry in their respective media.

"Our stories have been tried and tested and proven to be authentic, fair and balanced to the extent that even politically inclined media houses, both from the ruling government and opposition use our stories," he said. He said as individual reporters and editors, the GNA staff voted for separate political parties but did well to ensure that their individual political affiliations did not affect their reportage.

Nana Appau Duah said GNA had a clean record at the National Media Commission (NMC) and had not given the Commission any cause to complain about any news item adding that, that was a record that deserved increased State support for the proper functioning of the Agency. He said in spite of the expectation of some members of the public, potential of adversely impacting on national interest.

Mr Raymond Ankomah, Business Manager of GNA, told the delegation that GNA also ran an advertising agency in which it pre-financed adverts for persons and organisations with a 30-day grace period for re-payment. He said: "Very soon we will increase the subscription and advertising fees to meet the rising status our clients," he announced.

Mr Boakye-Dankwa Boadi, Chief Editor of the GNA, said it was simply impossible to commercialise the GNA saying that in the event of commercialisation the Agency would lose its specific mandate. "Our primary focus is to inform and educate the entire public and not to make money so the taxpayer must continue to fund GNA as we concentrate on providing the news for them," he said.