General News of Friday, 22 September 2006

Source: GNA

Media blamed for poor publicity on annular eclipse

Accra, Sept. 22, GNA - A teacher of Bishop Girls' School in Accra, Mrs Sarah Sarpong on Friday blamed the media for the poor publicity on Friday's annular eclipse which went without the excitement that surrounded last March's total eclipse. She said the media had not been consistent in its education adding that if the media had educated the public on the phenomenon children would have learnt a lot about it.

"It was on Tuesday (September 19) that we were actually informed about the partial eclipse," she told GNA.

Mr Daniel Lordson, another teacher of the School, noted that during the total eclipse last March the pupils did not actually believe it until it happened.

He said they advised the pupils to share the eclipse shades since not all of them had the shades. "They prayed to God to forgive them of their sins but this time they were not scared."

Ms Naomi Annan, a Class Three pupil of the School, said she was aware of the eclipse but her friends she was playing with during their break time doubted it. Mrs Belinda Ashie, another teacher, noted that during the total eclipse, when the darkness happened the children were scared and they thought the world was coming to an end.

Ms Victoria Antwi Sarpong, Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations (MTDR), said: "No budget was allocated by the Ministry for any form of publicity of the event. "Because this is different in nature from the solar eclipse which brought about total darkness not much interest was shown at home and abroad."

She said the solar eclipse was of total darkness and drew more attention.

Mr Samuel Bannerman-Mensah, Deputy Director-General in charge of Quality and Assets at the Ghana Education Service (GES), attributed the lack of enthusiasm to the time frame.

"We just witnessed one in March; therefore, people would definitely not feel anything strange about this," Mr Bannerman-Mensah said. Mr Zackari Musah, a senior reporter at the Ministry of Information and National Orientation (MINO), said: "The recommendation of Dr Emmanuel Amamoo-Otchere, Director of the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Services (CERGIS), on equipping various organisations to educate the population on such phenomena should be considered."

He said the Government must allocate funds for the sensitization and awareness creation for such events.

Mr Musah said Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the Information Service Department (ISD) should be equipped with mass communication devices such information vans to help to sensitize the populace on major events.

At Takoradi, many residents of the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis expressed over the partial sighting of the annular eclipse. Most of them had anxiously waited for the event and had assumed that it would be more spectacular than the recent total eclipse that occurred on March 29 this year.

At around 09:49 on Friday morning, most people including traders could be seen viewing the natural occurrence in front of their houses and stores while others observed it from rooftops.

Incidentally, many people did not have the specially designed sunshades, which would have enabled them to get a better view. Many resorted to borrowing the sunshades from others to occasionally catch a glimpse at the eclipse, while others too went about their daily businesses unconcerned.

Madam Joana Hagan, a plantain seller, who did not have sunshades said she misplaced her old one and was not ready to buy another one for 10,000 cedis.

Many children who did not have the special sunglasses could be seen watching the natural phenomenon on television sets placed in front of shops.