Sydney Abugri Writing and Editing Services

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There are now as many radio stations in Ghana as there are winking stars in a galaxy. One unsettling problem with some of them, is their obsession with advertisements. Let a radio station cultivate a sizeable audience, and the next thing you know, every programme on the station is intermittently and rudely interrupted by an unending stream of dull, drab and monotonous announcements purporting to be advertisements of all manner of goods and services of dubious origin and quality.

This is usually the case with morning radio. They want some cash to stay in business of course but then there is nothing like a copious flow of advertisements to put off listeners. 

Another problem with many of them, is that they feed too ravenously on NDC-NPP politics of an often rabid and noisy kind, usually characterized by hoarse screaming, shouting and yelling. 

This is actually happened in a radio studio in Accra: A deputy minister of state and a political commentator participating in a morning radio talk get so worked up over the meanings and import of some words and phrases and their implications for the integrity of the two gentlemen and that of their respective political parties, the NDC and the NPP. They are so inflamed that at one point, one of comes close to losing half a jaw to the fist of the other.

It can get unimaginably worse and should anyone ever tell you that the story of how a couple of ethnic bigots seated in the studios of Radio Collines uttered words that sparked off the horrific genocide in Rwanda in which nearly a million people were killed is now a hackneyed and boring one, tell him to think again.

We have no choice but to admit it: Its instantaneous and massive reach across vast audiences puts radio streets ahead of print and television when it comes to information dissemination and news updates, emergency alerts and public warnings.

Sadly, from triggering off wars and armed conflicts like the Rwandan genocide to starting scares and hoaxes which have sometimes led to mass panic and deaths, the awesome reach and impact of radio and its potential use for destructive ends, has also been demonstrated again and again.

Some radio stations have constantly been under criticism for providing bitterly opposing political rivals with platforms to do fierce verbal battle and promulgate the kind of messages with the potential to incite people to anger and violence.

The threats got so unnerving during one election year, that the Inspector General of Police at the time, Commander Paul Quaye went and obtained cabinet approval and a 50-million euro budget, to go shopping for 1,110 pick-ups and saloon cars, 100 heavy-duty motor bikes, 1,000 walkie-talkies, two cabin patrol cutters, four high speed interceptor boats, ballistic vests, helmets bullet-proof vests and ballistic plates to keep looming war at far bay!

Let us hope the current IGP, Mr John Kudalor wont be driven by any warmongering episodes to go for any last minute shopping of weapons to do battle with any warmongers this time.

The sad case of the two Montie FM talk show panellists and programme host who have been fined and jailed for making statements contemptuous of the Supreme Court, has brought one issue to the fore concerning radio and television progamme hosts:

Merely stating that a talk show or other programme host does not share the views and comments made by discussants on a programme he/she moderates, does not absolve the host from liability for contempt, no sir!

The culpability of invisible media owners whose mediums are constantly employed for dangerous political propaganda, has also been affirmed by the conviction of the owners and directors of Montie FM. 

The popular assumption that media owners can hide behind their anonymity while giving the their employees and activists of various sectarian groups in the country free rein to use their mediums as platforms for negative propaganda, has certainly been stood on its head by the  Montie case!