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General News of Thursday, 23 November 2000

Source: Joy Online

CHRISS FM re-opened

The local FM station in Berekum CHRISS FM which was closed down on November 8 on the orders of the Brong-Ahafo regional security council has been re-opened. The Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission, Yaw Boadu Ayeboafor confirmed the opening in an interview with JOY FM. A two-member team from the National Media Commission earlier in the week visited Berekum to obtain first hand information on circumstances, which led to the closure of the station. Mr. Ayeboafor said the commission gathered evidences including copies of the broadcast, which allegedly sparked off the violence but declined to give details.

The closure of the station followed an alleged statement made by Captain Nkrabea Effah-Dartey (rtd) NPP parliamentary candidate for Berekum on its programme, resulting in a violent clash between NDC and NPP supporters. Nineteen people, mostly NDC supporters, were injured, while the windscreens of vehicles being used by NDC supporters were smashed.

Mr Donald Adabre, Regional Minister and Chairman of REGSEC, told a press conference in Sunyani that the objective for closing station has been achieved. He said soldiers put at the station would be withdrawn but they will be placed on the alert to protect it from any attack.

The Minister said the decision by REGSEC to re-open the station was influenced by appeals from individuals and a number of organisations, including the National Media Commission and the regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association. Mr Adabre said there is now ample evidence of peace and order prevailing at Berekum, making the continued closure of the station unnecessary.

However, he said, investigations and ''other unfinished business'' pertaining to the incident would continue to bring the culprits to justice. He advised the management of fm stations to conduct business according to their ethics and professional rules.

Oheneba Owusu, Administrative Officer of Chris FN station, on behalf of management rendered an ''unqualified apology'' to the general public for the incident and assured its listeners that henceforth, all political programmes would be scrutinised to avoid the recurrence of violence.