Minister complains about media not validating sources

Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, Northern Regional Minister, has complained about the media not cross-checking sources and facts of news, especially conflict areas of the Region, before publication, thus exacerbating of the situation. He said the situation where radio stations based in Accra allowed just anybody who phoned into their studios from any conflict prone area in the Northern Region to report or alert about a conflict without the radio stations cross-checking from appropriate authorities to confirm such claims before going on air was derailing efforts at maintaining peace in the Region. He cited the latest of such cases where an individual phoned into an Accra-based Fm station claiming that he was the Chief of Nakpanduri and alleged that the Regional Minister was complicit in the issues resulting in tribal clashes between Kokombas and Bimobas, which broke out last Monday. Mr Mabengba made the complaint at a meeting with journalists in Tamale on Saturday before leading a Regional Security Council delegation to embark on a tour of Kpamale and Nakpanduri communities in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District where tribal clashes broke last Monday between Kokombas and Bimobas following disagreements over extension of a parcel of land belonging to a basic school at Kpamale. Nakpanduri and Kpamale are Kokomba and Bimoba neighbouring communities, respectively, in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District, which until last Monday’s incident, had no conflict history. The new demarcation of the land by the Nakpanduri Chief, being contested by his Kpamale counterpart resulted in the clashes. Even though the security agencies responded swiftly and brought the situation under control, three people were killed, four others sustained gunshot wounds, and over 90 houses built mostly with mud and thatch roofing, were burnt down. Police personnel in the district have arrested one person and retrieved two locally manufactured guns on him whiles six other suspects are still on the run. The Regional Minister reminded radio stations, especially those based in Accra, to be mindful of the consequences of their broadcasts and asked them to instead help use their media to promote peace in the Northern Region. He asked the offending media houses to respect journalistic principles in the conduct of their duties. He also asked some of the Northern Regional correspondents of Accra-based radio stations to cross-check their facts from appropriate authorities before reporting since some of them gave unconfirmed reports whilst others reported as if they were witnesses to such incidents. Mr Mabengba said he was not a tribalist and could not fun tribal conflicts, assuring that he would continue to work to promote the supreme interest of the Region and all of its peoples.