President John Mahama is not amused about the quality of radio presenting in the country, especially the daily newspaper review segments and political talk-shows which pitch persons against each other, describing it as a lazy format.
President John Mahama poured his heart out on the quality of radio programmes and general media practice when he hosted editors and executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Private Newspapers and Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) at the Flagstaff House last Friday.
“When two persons are pitched against each other and the studios become chaotic, the radio stations put out their jingles, for instance “Adoom FM!” he said scornfully, but quickly apologized to Adom FM, an Accra-based radio station, for citing it.
Mahama also had reservations about the quality of discussants who appear on such programmes, many of whom he said, have limited knowledge about subjects they are invited to dissect. He counseled radio stations to seek experts to discuss germane subjects as it is done elsewhere in the world.
Addressing a concern raised by one of his guests regarding the energy crisis, he gave a cautious April or May ending deadline for a respite to the nagging power outages in the country dubbed, ‘Dumso Dumso’.
Attributing the shortfall of electricity to the inability of demand to match supply and the recent damage to the submarine gas pipeline from Nigeria, he said repair processes such as de-watering, drying of the pipeline and others are about being completed for normalcy to be restored. He was quick to add however that “I have learnt not to give deadlines”, having burnt his fingers earlier when he based his assumption on the briefing he received from the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company and gave a timing which never materialized.
The President explained that the energy crisis did not start now, but over successive regimes, each of which contributed towards augmenting the supply of megawatts to the existing supply capacity.
President Mahama said when current projects, namely the restoration of gas from Nigeria to feed the Asogli power station, the operationalisation of the Bui project and other megawatts augmentation efforts, are completed, “by April it will stabilize”.
Government, he said, is exploring all opportunities to obviate future recurrence of an energy crisis as being experienced now and which visited past governments.
Successive governments have all suffered energy crisis and have responded with various interventions, he said, adding that solar energy projects and the construction of alternative mini hydro-electricity projects in some parts of the country, which are being considered, would go a long way in augmenting the supply of electricity in the country.
President Mahama also spoke about the sorry water supply situation in Accra and hinted that he has directed the sector minister to ensure the restructuring of the Ghana Water Company.
This has become necessary against the backdrop of an assortment of organizations engaged in the supply of water in the country. “I have charged the minister to work at it,” he said, adding that the supply of water would be decentralized.
Government, he disclosed, is working with its Chinese counterparts to tackle the shortfall, which is also a factor in the water supply dearth in Accra.
The 30 million-gallon shortfall in supply to Accra, when it is remedied, would have towns along the Kpong to Accra route supplied with the life-giving fluid including Adenta and East Legon.
The supply of water in Accra, the President noted, must be complemented by efficiency in the payment of bills and the stemming of illegal connections which have impacted negatively on the survivability of the Ghana Water Company.
Responding to PRINPAG President, Gina Blay’s address on the challenges of sourcing advertisements by the private media, he was quick to state that the trend must change.
She told the President when she took her turn to speak that “when we approach MDAs for advertisements, they tell us that we are too political. Tell the MDAs to support us with the juicy advertisements such as those they give state owned media houses because governance is about politics”.
Newspapers, the President agreed, should not rely on cover prices for their sustenance, directing the MDAs to reverse the trend regarding advertisements.
“Let the distribution of advertisements be liberalized,” he directed, adding, “Newspapers should not depend on cover prices. Let us spread advertisements”.
While acknowledging the progress of the media since the days of the culture of silence, President Mahama charged it to change society’s attitude and move it forward.
Government alone cannot effect such positive changes without the input and support of the media, he told his hosts.
The beacon of democracy accolade which Ghana has earned over the years, President Mahama noted, is due to the significant performance of the media.
On the passage of the Right To Information Bill (RTI), he told the media practitioners that government is for its passage, stressing, “Government is not afraid of the passage of the Information Bill”.
The passage of the bill, he went on, would reduce the act of sensationalism by some newspapers.
Present at the encounter were the Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Kweku Bane, Minister of Information Mahama Ayariga, Samuel Ablakwa Okudzeto and Victor Smith among others.
Source: A.R. Gomda/D-Guide
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