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Youth group threatens journalist, radio station

(MFWA/IFEX) - On March 22, 2010, Ashanti Youth Incorporated, a traditional youth group in Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city, gave a three-day ultimatum to the management of Multimedia Broadcasting Company. The youth group is demanding that the broadcasting company sack the host of a morning newspaper review programme, Ato Kwamena Dadzie, for allegedly insulting the king of Ashanti, the Asantehene.
Dadzie's programme airs on Multimedia Broadcasting Company's stations across the country, including Luv FM in Kumasi and Joy FM in Accra.

Ashanti Youth Incorporated's vice president, Blessed Godsbrain Smart, who also hosts a morning show on the privately-owned Fox FM station in Kumasi, reportedly threatened to "vandalize" Luv FM, which replays Dadzie's newspaper review programme.

However, in a telephone interview with the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Smart denied using the word "vandalize", saying he was conveying the orders of members of Ashanti Youth Incorporated and that Dadzie had been given up to March 24 to apologise, otherwise they would "go to" the station on March 25.

"Until Dadzie apologises, his voice is banned in Kumasi," he added.

The threat followed an opinion piece Dadzie wrote on his blog http://www.atod.com , which was also posted on http://www.myjoyonline.com , the website of Multimedia Broadcasting Company. The piece attacked the Asantehene (Ashanti King) over comments the king made in the wake of a feud between him and another traditional chief.

Meanwhile, Saeed Ali Yakub, Luv FM's news editor, told MFWA that Multimedia management had lodged a complaint about the youth group's threats to the Ashanti Regional command of the Ghana police, along with recordings of the Fox FM morning show on which Smart issued his threat.

MFWA sees this incident as an unfortunate example of the political partisanship among Ghana's private radio stations and media generally that is dividing the industry and adding fuel to the rancorous bickering among political forces in the country today.

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