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General News of Monday, 25 July 2011

Source: The Catalyst

I Was Chased Out Of Metro TV- Alhassan Suhyini

A certain level of bias may be acceptable in every enterprise but when a top official of a credible TV station makes it his stock in trade to manipulate programmes in pursuance of his parochial political interest, thereby pushing his bias to unacceptable levels, which in essence is undermining democracy, then there is cause for concern. Unfortunately, that is the quagmire the Deputy General Manager of Metropolitan Entertainment Television (Metro TV), Mr. Alhassan Haruna has entangled himself in at the moment, resulting in government's decision to boycott the TV station until further notice.
The incident that occurred on Thursday at Metro TV when Mr. Kojo Twum Boafo, the government representative to the 'Good Morning Ghana' show was turned away by the station to satisfy the whims and caprices of the NPP rep, Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, seems to have opened the Pandora Box on the deputy general manager, who fingers are pointing at as the mastermind of the unfortunate happening.
Mr. Alhassan Suhyini, a former employee of Metro TV and current host the morning show and Alhaji & Alhaji on Radio Gold last Friday took Mr. Alhassan Haruna to the cleaners, accusing him of allowing his political bias to cloud his sense of professional judgment, which is why all this is happening to Metro TV.
According to Mr. Suhyini, who was responding to, what he described as, unsavory comments made about Radio Gold by his former boss following a review of what had transpired on Metro TV the previous morning on his show, said the high quality and standard of programmes run on Radio Gold were too high for people like Mr. Alhassan Haruna to comprehend.
“We don't do this for people like him. What we do here is far higher for people like him to comprehend. His bias is nauseating,” the talk show host of the year said.
Mr. Suhyini said he had all along been diplomatic about the manner in which he left Metro TV but said it was time to spill the beans. According to him, the deputy general manager chased him out of work at the TV station. He said Mr. Alhassan Haruna called him one day and told him to pack out because he had become a “national security threat” due to the fact that he was host of the Alhaji & Alhaji talk show on Radio Gold. This happened when NPP was in power.
The 2010 talk show host of the year said he had since decided to keep quiet about the manner he was hounded out of Metro TV by Mr Alhassan Haruna but was provoked by the unsavoury comments made by him about his station simply because news about the previous day's incident at Metro TV featured on his show on Thursday morning.
The government took a decision on Thursday to boycott any political discussion programme on Metro TV due to what it describes as unfair treatment meted out to it by the station.
According to the NDC, one of the members of the party's Communication Team, Kojo Twum Boafo who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), was prevented from representing the views of government on the 'Good Morning Ghana' programme on the faithful day.
On Thursday Radio Gold broke the news that the NDC had taken a decision to boycott Metro TV until further notice because Mr Kojo Twum Boafo who is a member of the communications team of the NDC was turned away by the producer of the 'Good Morning Ghana' show. The reason being that NPP's representative on the show, Gabby Otchere Darko, had protested against Kojo Twum Boafo as a co-panellist and threatened to withdraw from the show that morning if the NDC man was not replaced.
Confirming the news in an interview with Alhassan Suhyini on Radio Gold, Deputy Minister of Information, Hon. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa said the NDC could no longer put up with the blatant political bias being exhibited by the management of Metro TV.
Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa said the party and government could not tolerate the humiliation meted out to Mr. Kojo Twum Boafo, describing it as unfair.
According to the deputy information minister, the producer called him at 11:15pm on Wednesday impressing on him to replace Mr Kojo Twum Boafo, who was elected by him to stand in for Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, the regular NDC panellist on the show on Thursdays, since he was out of town.
He said the producer hinted that management had consented to Gabby Asare Otchere Darko's undemocratic protest and that Kojo Twum Boafo had to be replaced. The deputy information minister however said he stood his grounds because the NPP cannot dictate to the NDC as to who represents it on any programme.
The station therefore did its own replacement with Bernard Mornah of the People's National Convention (PNC).
Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa said government has decided to have nothing to do with Metro TV until further notice or until the station renders an apology to government for dancing to the whims and caprices of the NPP to embarrass it.
Pinning the whole problem down to the deputy general manager, Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa said, “This is not the first time; we have continuously been under the machination of Haruna Alhassan. Metro TV has given us a hell of a time and anytime we complain they will tell us that if we have any issue we should talk to Haruna. Talal Fattal [CEO of Metro] himself has had to apologize severally on behalf of Haruna. If it is a matter of quality, we can all discuss and come to a compromise and agreement. It is not a matter of quality of the person, it is a matter of unfairness for the producer to listen to NPP and decide who should come and who should not come...”
Mr Alhassan Haruna, who is said to have been eyeing the NPP flagbearer's running mate position since the 2008 elections has been in the news for some time now for carrying his political bias towards his favoured party to, what Mr Alhassan Suhyini describes as, “nauseating” levels.
The deputy general manager however denies any wrong doing on his part. According to him, whiles in opposition, the NDC and Metro TV had worked together very well. He did not understand why the party gets into government and decides “to intimidate us.”

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