General News Sun, 15 Aug 1999

Mahama out-doors Radio Ada

Big Ada, August 15 GNA - The government has expressed concerned about the use of radio phone-in programmes to launch unsubstantiated and defamatory attacks on public office holders or persons of different political persuasions or ethnic orientation.

It said radio is a powerful medium and the most popular source of information for the vast majority of the people of this country and its proper use must be the concern of all.

Mr John Mahama, Minister of Communications, expressed the concern at the formal outdooring of Radio Ada, an independent community radio station at the grand durbar of the annual Asafotufiami festival of the chiefs and people of the Ada traditional area on Saturday.

Radio Ada, which operates on the frequency of 93.3 FM with a 50-man volunteer workforce, was established in February last year by Prof. Alex Quarmyne, a retired diplomat of UNESCO's Communication Division and his wife Wilna, a Broadcaster.

Mr Mahama noted that because of the anonymity provided by the nature of radio as solely a voice activated medium some persons misuse this to use the most foul language and make the most scurrilous allegations against other people.

He said while some allowance could be made for some indiscretions, the nature and scale of the menace is assuming quite worrisome proportions.

With the liberalisation of the airwaves, radio was expected to play a central role in the acquisition of knowledge and foster a sense of unity and patriotism among the people but this has not been entirely the case.

For some people, radio has become a useful instrument for waging war on perceived political or ethnic opponents, adding, government is concerned about the nature and character that FM broadcasting is assuming.

Mr Mahama said government is concerned about the influx of foreign programming, the calibre of presenters, obscene programming and acquired foreign accents on radio.

He said a lot of responsibility rests on the shoulders of programme directors and presenters or hosts of radio programmes and advised them to be well versed in any topic that they wished to host in order to correct misconceptions raised by contributors to their programmes.

The Minister commended Radio Ada for the good standards it has set so far and hoped this would serve as a model for other community based radio stations. P

rof. Quarmyne and his wife were installed as Development Chief and Queen mother respectively of Ada in recognition of the significant role that the station was playing in the life of the people.

He told the GNA in an interview that the original seed money for the establishment of the station came from their own resources, while they got the equipment from different international organisations.

He declined to give the cost involved saying, "to us money is not important but the determination and commitment of the people to bring changes into their lives.

Prof. Quarmyne said he has established a non-profit making organisation called the Ghana Community Broadcasting Service, which hopes to extend similar radio stations to other communities.

Source: GNA