General News Fri, 30 Apr 1999

Media asked not to divide society

Accra (Greater Accra), 30th April ?99 ?

The Ministry of Communications on Thursday expressed concern about the trend of recent debates in the media in respect of the up-coming Ga Traditional Cultural ban on drumming in the metropolis and urged the mass media to exercise extreme circumspection in the conduct of such discussions.

A statement signed by the Minister, Mr John Mahama, said circumspection is necessary in order to prevent some of the "unguarded utterances that are currently whipping up ethnic sentiments around the issue".

The statement noted that some of the contributions of listeners to some radio programmes have been highly inflammatory and disrespectful of the traditions and customary beliefs of the Ga people.


"If care is not exercised in the discussion of such issues, it could lead to breaches of the peace and other unpleasant consequences, which are not in the interest of any of the parties involved."

The statement explained that the state is enjoined by the Directive Principles of State Policy to promote the integration of the people of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudices on grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, ethnic origin, gender or religion, creed or other beliefs.

The Ministry called for a "dispassionate dialogue between concerned religious groups and traditional authorities, which will both uphold freedom of religion and worship and at the same time preserve respect for the traditions and cultural norms not only of the people of Accra, but of all other traditional areas."

The Ga traditional council's annual one-month ban on drumming and dancing goes into force next week, and the council has asked for the co-operation of churches to avoid a recurrence of last year's clash between Lighthouse Church and traditionalists.

Source: --