The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah declined being interviewed by an intern because she was in a meeting, the ministry has explained.
Reacting to a viral story about the Minister being rude to an intern reporter from Accra-based radio station Adom FM who called her for a telephone interview, the PR Unit of the Ministry said the News Editor of Adom FM should have prompted her earlier for the interview.
Calling for closer collaboration between the Ministry and the media, the Sector Minister also apologised to the reporter and the media house for any inconvenience caused.
The intern Rahinatu Abdul Bach (a student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism) in an opinion piece titled: “Sanitation Minister nearly shattered my dreams – The story of a young female journalist”, detailed how she felt demeaned during a telephone interview with Madam Dapaah.
Also, attached to the piece were audio recordings of the interaction between Rahinatu and the Minister as well as another between an Adom FM editor and the Minister.
She said her conversation with Madam Dapaah nearly shattered her hopes of “ever becoming something” but for words of encouragement from her News Editor and other male colleagues in the Adom newsroom.
However, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources maintains that the Madam Dapaah recognises the role of the media as a key partner in the scheme of national affairs and would therefore not intimidate or show rudeness to any media personnel.
“For the purposes of the records, it should be stated that the Minister was at a meeting when she received the call and was, therefore, requesting that the reporter should call later,” the rejoinder said.
“She was also of the view that the news editor should have prompted her earlier for the interview. The Sector Minister did not ignore the reporter on the basis that she was an intern”.
The rejoinder (below) further stressed that considering the subject of the interview, it would have been ideal for a senior reporter to have conducted the interview.
“We are however of the view that looking at the issues for discussion, it would have been ideal for a senior reporter to have conducted the interview with the Minister, since the senior reporter would have been in a better position to appreciate the issues more clearly from the technical point of view”.
“It is the view of the Ministry that the issue should not be stretched any further which could affect the existing cordial relationship between the Sector Minister and the media, and by extension, the Ministry”.