The Minister of Information, Mr Fritz Baffour, says the onus lies on the Multimedia Group Limited (MGL) to do all it can to deal with the government’s decision to boycott all programmes run by media houses operating under the group.
“It was with reluctance that the decision was taken, but it is necessary to ensure that sanity prevails,” he said in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
The decision of the government to boycott programmes of the MGL was born out of an incident at Asempa FM, one of the stations owned by the MGL, where the Youth Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Anthony Karbo, is alleged to have led a group of the party’s supporters to the station to ‘deal’ with an NDC panellist alleged to have insulted Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
It took the intervention of the police to restore order at the station when NDC supporters also swarmed the area, leading to a near clash between supporters of the two parties.
Mr Baffour noted that although the government believed in media freedom, it would take decisions, even if they were unpalatable, if the country’s peace and security was endangered.
He noted that the MGL did not handle the Asempa incident well, as it created the impression that it was the NDC spokesperson on the programme, Mr Peter Otokornor, who had created the situation that resulted in the furore during the programme.
A Deputy Minister of Information, Mr James Agyenim Boateng, had stated, among other things, that the media group had not been fair to the NDC.
In an interview with CitiNews, Mr Boateng had said: “In the light of the large development on Asempa FM which led to a mob of NPP people, led by Anthony Karbo, storming the station, that incident, for example, did not find any space in the news bulletin of Joy FM and so by their conduct they have shown that they cannot be fair and neutral.”
“We consider that not in our interest... More importantly, we cannot guarantee the safety of our people when they appear on their stations,” he added.
Mr Boateng stated: “We are not asking radio presenters and producers to be on our side. But they should show fairness and be accurate. We can’t co-operate with stations which pretend to be neutral but in fact do more damage to us.”
The boycott did not end there. Mr Boateng yesterday urged all ministries, departments and agencies of the government not to entertain any reporter of the MGL.
“We’ll find other platforms to carry out our messages. Multimedia journalists are not invited to cover state events,” he said. “They give the NPP much coverage. The solution now lies with the MGL. We’re doing fine as a government.”
Meanwhile, the MGL has denied accusations of bias levelled against it by the government. It said the said incident at Asempa was duly reported on its networks, citing Joy FM which flagged it as the only issue on its Top Story programme of February 22, 2012 and hosted by Evans Mensah.
Source: Daily Graphic
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