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General News of Sunday, 7 August 2005

Source: GNA

Media is not under siege -Veep's Special Aide

Accra, Aug. 7, GNA - The Media under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government had never come under a siege and nobody should attempt to create the impression that the Government had been muffling the Media, Mr Mohammed Awal, Special Aide to Vice President Aliu Mahama has said. Mr Awal, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency, said the Government repealed the Criminal Libel Law in order to allow Journalists the freedom to ply their profession without hindrance.

He said recent reports in a section of the Media that sought to create the impression that the Media was under siege were figments of the imagination of some people.

Mr Awal said the Right to Information Bill that would facilitate access to information was in the offing adding that a government that was out to silence the Media would not pass such a bill. He said the Government had demonstrated its goodwill towards the Media by providing a building for the Ghana Journalists Association to use as its offices.

"My Brother, you are a Journalist working for a State Media, has there been anytime that any member of Government had questioned you about what you wrote or did not write?" He asked.

Mr Awal said anyone, who tuned in to any of the private radio stations would hear how freely people expressed divergent views, some very cynical about the government and yet nothing had been done to stop anybody.

"The Media has been freer under this Government than under any government in the past", Mr Awal said, adding that individuals who felt libelled by the Media could institute legal action against the Media in their personal capacities.

"Indeed there is a newspaper that is operating without a fixed address and nobody knows the publishers, according to a recent court ruling, and yet nobody has made any attempt to stop the paper from hitting the news stands," Mr Awal said.

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