The National Media Commission (NMC) has directed two radio stations in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region to stop incessant attacks on each other and the propagation of hate speeches.
Additionally, the Commission directed the stations — Alpha Radio and Zuria, 88.7 FM —to cease hosting programmes that espoused “religious fundamentalism”.
“Zuria FM and its management has been directed to apologise for any misconceptions or miscommunication from the interview with Sheikh Abubakari that gave the impression that Islam cannot tolerate any other religion, particularly Christianity,” the NMC said.
A statement signed and issued by the NMC DeputyExecutive Secretary,
Alexander Bannerman, in Accra yesterday, said both parties had agreed to respect and abide by the decision of the NMC which followed a complaint lodged by Alpha Radio against Zuria88.7 FM.
It said the complaint by Alpha Radio’s CEO, Sheikh Mohammed Ridwan Mohammed, accused the General Manager of Zuria 88.7 FM, Yussif Abdul Ganiyu, of personal attacks, religious bigotry and incitement of Muslims against Christians.
It said the complainant alleged that Mr Ganiyuaccused him of opening its facilities to Christians for which in his opinion had the potential of converting Muslims to Christianity, but Mr Ganiyu denied all the accusations.
According to one of the parties, there was a programme during which a well-known Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Abubakari, in an interview, said that any Muslim who allowed his or her facility to be used to propagate any religious faith apart from Islam committed a sacrilege.
This comment, according to the statement, was considered to be in bad state by Alpha Radio due to the level of religious pluralism in the country, but Zuria FM pointed out that on that occasion, it was a question from a listener that prompted the response from the Sheik.
The statement referenced the hearing in Kumasi on Tuesday, where it emerged that there were deep seated sentiments between the two personalities, turning their programmes into personal vendetta and uninformed judgements.
It was established that the CEO of Alpha radio initially hosted programmes on Zuria FM before establishing his own station, and that both competed on affiliation with DeutchWelle, as well as the fact that the staff of Zuria88.7 FM were suspected to have been poached by Alpha, a claim which was refuted by Alpha Radio.
According to the statement, the Chairman of the NMC, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, had a tough time appeasing the two parties whose tempers were high.
He reminded the public that any radio and television station using its programmes to foment trouble or undermine national security would have its frequency withdrawn or face prosecution.
“The NMC in the same vein could recommend to professional bodies or associations to discipline their members whose actions are unethical and undermined national stability, public order and peace,” he said.
BY TIMES REPORTER