Ho — The National Media Commission (NMC) has directed all media houses in the country not to advertise any sponsored political messages on radio, television or print media 24 hours to the day of the election.
The NMC explained that the directive forms part of measures being put in place by the Commission to ensure peace during and after the 2012 Presidential and Legislative Elections assuring the general public that it would play its role more effectively to maintain the existing peace in the country.
Delivering the key-note address at the 16th anniversary celebration of the Volta Premier Radio Station, a campus radio at the Ho Polytechnic and award ceremony for hard working staff and past students who initiated and supported the radio station over the years, the Chairman of the NMC, Mr. Kabral Blay Amihere said the Commission was mindful of the dual role the media could play in either promoting peace or as a catalyst for creating confusion in the country.
Mr. Amihere, therefore, cautioned newsmen to be circumspect in playing their roles as news disseminators and gate keepers to ensure that the election was conducted in peace.
He asked men and women in the Fourth Estate of the Realm to use the conflicts in Rwanda, Sudan and other African countries torn apart by civil strife that should not be visited on Ghana.
The NMC Chairman said the media in some Africa countries engaged in negative activities that led to conflicts, and the same thing could happen in the country if the media failed to show greater commitment to society and journalists failed to play their constitutional role effectively before, during and after the general elections.
Mr. Amihere, therefore, urged the media to avoid waging war on the radio, television and the print media and to detach themselves from political activities because "any careless utterance by a media practitioner on radio or television could throw the nation into war and destabilize the country".
He stressed the need for the media to demonstrate high level of professionalism by strictly adhering to journalists' code of ethics to maintain the integrity of the profession and the sovereignty of the nation.
Touching on the role of campus radio stations like that of the Volta Premier Radio station at the Ho Polytechnic, Mr. Amihere emphasized the need for the staff and management to stand tall in their activities, saying that such radio stations found in the academic environment could not afford to distinguish themselves and serve as shining examples for others to emulate.
Rev. Seth Dzokoto of the Global Evangelical Church admonished Ghanaians to put their prayers into action towards a peaceful general election because the nation could not claim to be praying for peace and still engage in negative practices that would lead to conflict
Giving the history behind the project, the Chairman of the Volta Premier Radio Management Board, Mr. Ben Q. Honyenuga said in 1995, some students of the Ho Polytechnic invented a radio transmitter, which initially could transmit to a distance of 200 meters radius. This aroused the interest of the Students Representative Council and the school authorities which put their heads together to acquire an improved radio equipment to set up the station that now serves greater part of the Volta Region.
Mr. Honyenuga told the audience that the Volta Premier was formally commissioned in July 19, 1996, on the frequency of 98.1 MHz. Since its commissioning the radio station had gone through numerous transformation processes, which had made it a leading radio station in the Volta Region.
The first Principal of the Ho Polytechnic, Dr. George Afeti, who was described by both staff and students as a visionary leader, was honoured for his distinguished service, during whose period the station was established.
Other former and present staff and workers at the Radio station, such as Prof. Dzisi, former Rector, Mr. Kwadzo Adanu, Mr. Robert Adanu Appati, Mr. Paul Senyo Dome, Mr. Mawuli Yevu-Agbi and Nene Lamptey, received various awards for their hard work and dedication to duty.