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General News of Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Source: Class FM

Citi FM CEO: Going off 2 channels same time 'very curious'

Samuel Attah-Mensah Samuel Attah-Mensah

CEO of Citi FM Samuel Attah-Mensah has said he found it “very curious” that some of the private radio station’s channels – satellite and online – went off air, virtually at the same time on Monday, just when the flagbearer of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) was being interviewed by Bernard Avle on the breakfast show.

“I will be curious. I will be curious,” he told Nii Arday Clegg on Starr FM’s breakfast show, Morning Starr, on Wednesday.

Some members of the NPP suspect access to Citi FM’s listening channels was curtailed on Monday to drown Nana Akufo-Addo’s interview.

Mr Attah-Mensah, however, said even though he found the whole episode curious, “I do not find myself in a place to suspect anybody in particular.”

“I mean it’s irregular, but I don’t have any basis to point fingers at anyone. I couldn’t be suspecting foul play without pointing fingers at anybody…but I’m very curious because it hardly ever happens that you have all the channels go down at the same time,” he emphasised.

Explaining what happened during the interview, Samens, as he is widely known, said: “In the process of interviewing, I was informed that we were off on our satellite channel, and, so, most of our partner stations were calling and complaining that they couldn’t get the signal, so, our technicians tried to fix it with no malice; only then did we start getting messages that our online streaming had also gone off. So, it is two things that happened at the same time, and, so, based on the satellite challenges, we had gone off on MultiTV as well, and, so, this thing happened altogether within the same period. It only came back, again, altogether just five, ten minutes after the interview.”

“It is regular to go off on a channel, it is regular to go off even with your main transmission as a radio station, it’s regular to go off live streaming, it’s regular to go off satellite distribution; it seldom happens when all these things happen at the same time, and that is what raises people’s curiosity,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Government of Ghana has denied sabotaging Mr Akufo-Addo’s interview.

“At no point in time has it been the policy of government, effected through any agency under it, to block access to an interview being done by an opposition leader,” Deputy Minister of Communication, Felix Kwakye Ofosu said Wednesday.

“In any event the interview that he [New Crusading Guide’s Editor] is talking about was widely monitored and there was commentary run on it by various media platforms,” Mr Kwakye Ofosu told Nii Arday Clegg Wednesday when he was called by the programme to respond to claims that access to Citi FM was coincidentally curtailed online and also on the MultiTV digibox, just when Mr Akufo-Addo was being interviewed.

Mr Kwakye Ofosu said the allegation is a calculated rumour being spread by “NPP propagandists,” adding: “NCA [National Communications Authority] has done nothing because there’s no such policy.”

Government’s response comes a day after Manhyia South MP of the NPP, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh alleged that Citi FM was temporarily “jammed” on Monday to sabotage Mr Akufo-Addo’s in-studio interview, which he did to cap his “Rise and Build” tour of the country.

Though he would not name who, or which organisation, or authority ordered, or caused the alleged jamming to be done, ‘Napo,’ as the Medical Doctor-turned-Politician is called, told Kwadwo Asare-Baffour Acheampong on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen political talk show on Tuesday October 13, that the curtailment of access to Citi FM’s airwaves during his flagbearer’s interview, was calculated to water down the reach and impact of whatever he had to say on the show.

“We could hardly hear all that Nana Addo said on Citi FM as a result,” Dr Opoku Prempeh said.

The management of Citi FM, he urged, should report the jamming to the National Communication Authority, for the frequency regulator to be hauled before Parliament over it.

He said actions of sabotage of the sort are the things that could hurt Ghana’s democracy.

Dr Prempeh is not the only one claiming the 97.3FM dial was jammed on Monday. Fellow Legislator Kennedy Nyarko Osei, the NPP’s MP for Akim Swedru also wrote on his personal Facebook page that: “Confirmation we have is that Citi FM was sabotaged yesterday during the well-publicised interview with Nana Akufo-Addo in the morning.”

He said: “The radio station's satellite and streaming were jammed during the course of the interview and only came on ten minutes after the show was over. Who did it? Your guess is as good as ours.”

Mr Nyarko Osei also alleged that a live interview of President John Mahama by state-owned Twin City Radio in the Western Region on the same day at almost the same time was a quickly-arranged event to dwarf Mr Akufo-Addo’s on Citi.

“The programme [Nana’s interview] was first advertised for 9 am. The President in a "rise and panic" effort hastily arranged a radio interview from Takoradi at 9 am that was aired on radio stations across the country, obviously to share the space with the opposition leader. Just as well, Nana's studio appearance actually kicked off at 10 am!

“Next was to stop the opposition leader from being heard. Ghanaians abroad complained that they could not tune in. Citi FM mysteriously went off on Multi TV. This is the extent some are prepared to go now to stifle opposition.

“I fear for election 2016 if this is what's happening even now. We know some Israelis (names withheld) were behind the jamming of Oman FM in 2012 and they now have even more powerful equipment to do more damage. GHANAIANS MUST STAND UP NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!” Mr Nyarko Osei wrote.

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