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Government minister interrupts TV broadcast, shouting threats, over inclusion of opposition spokesperson in programme

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 24 April 2008, Joe Baidoo Ansah, Ghana's Minister of Trade and Industry, interrupted a live-broadcast on Metropolitan Television (Metro TV), an Accra-based TV station, to register his displeasure about the inclusion of Nii Moi Thompson, an opposition spokesman, in the flagship programme "Good Evening Ghana".

Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the minister, who was unhappy about Thompson's comments, stormed the studio amidst insults and threats, forcing a break in transmission.

Metro TV, a state/private station ran a special edition of "Good Evening Ghana" to review the just ended United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting in Accra. It was during the programme that Thompson, who had been invited in his capacity as a policy analyst, made critical comments against the government.

Ansah told JOY FM, an Accra-based independent station, that he went into the studio to protest against the politicisation of a United Nations programme.

Following the Minister's behaviour, that particular edition of the "Good Evening Ghana" was not rebroadcast the next day as has been the practice. This led to Kwesi Pratt Jnr., Editor of the "Insight", accusing the Minister of Information of masterminding it. Meanwhile, both the management of the station and the minister denied Pratt's allegation. Explaining the rationale behind their refusal to rebroadcast, the management said that the programme was "in bad taste" and rebroadcasting it would tarnish the country's reputation.

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