Information gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicates that the decision by government to boycott all programmes on the Multimedia Group and the ban placed on its journalists from covering any state events has the consent of President John Evans Atta Mills.
The decision affects media seven media houses- Joy FM, Adom FM, Luv FM, Nhyira FM, Asempa FM, myjoyonline.com and Multi TV.
The decision is believed to have been taken by government in apparent protest against the suspension of Kwabena Bobie Ansah as host of the ‘Ekosii Sen’ programme on Asempa FM by the management of the station after a near clash between supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Bobie is said to have provided a cannon fodder on the programme for the NDC to attack the main opposition leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
It is also seen as a move to control media content as sources said that most radio newsrooms had been inundated with calls about how certain issues relating to government should be slanted.
A source at the Presidency told DAILY GUIDE that the decision could have not been taken without President Mills’s approval since he is the head of government.
That, the source said, was part of why in answering a question on BBC Network Africa programme yesterday as to whether President Mills approved of the decision, Deputy “it was well thought out”.
It is also believed to be part of the reasons Joy FM’s Castle correspondent, Seth Kwame Boateng, was excluded from the President’s visit to the Agbogbloshie Market on Wednesday.
The station had to rely on Citi FM’s sound bite for the news on the market visit.
Presidential Spokesman Koku Anyidoho has already bluffed his way as being the one who has the sole prerogative to select who covers the president.
A member of the legal team of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), David Annan, served notice that other radio stations could follow suit, saying, “This is a word of caution to other radio stations like Citi FM, Peace FM, Hot FM, among others that it can happen to them.”
Annan asked the aforementioned media outlets to take a cue from the government decision to sever working relations with the Multimedia Group.
Media watchers consider this as an attempt by the ruling NDC to curtail media freedom by preventing dissent, an act reminiscent of the dark days of the PNDC era when there was no media or press freedom.
But a statement issued and signed by Information Minister Fritz Baffour yesterday, which made claims to government’s commitment to media freedom equally, sought to justify its decision to sever ties with the Multimedia Group.
The statement noted, “It is inaccurate for critics of government to aver that before this decision to boycott Multimedia, government had not resorted to other means of seeking redress” and that “government over the past three years has had cause to petition the National Media Commission (NMC) and other stakeholders in matters of unfair and bias reportage by members of the Multimedia platforms.”
It catalogued a number of instances to support its claims while expressing surprise at the inability of the Multimedia Group to condemn what they described as “this unruly and undemocratic conduct and has refused or failed to assure NDC panellists of their safety”.
“We have been even more surprised at the strange happenings in the aftermath; as we have all observed the Asempa FM programme was initially taken off air for some days, only to be brought back with a different host and the NPP publicly stating that their plot has worked,” it said.
The Ministry of Information has accepted a request by the management of Multimedia for a meeting to resolve the impasse.
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu/Daily Guide
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