“We were more Kotoko-biased when we started publications so when we shifted into politics, it tended to be similar [with focus on anti-NDC stories] because we took it that NPP supporters tend to buy more papers than the NDC’s. Our priority is the money. In Ghana, daily sales is on headlines” …This was the revelation of Gina Blay, Chief Executive of Western Publications Ltd – Publishers of Daily Guide newspaper, when she appeared on Starr Chat with Bola Ray on Wednesday.
Gina Blay’s confession that the diabolical stories against the NDC as a party and government over the years, were deliberately planted to milk supporters of the New Patriotic Party, shocked many of those who listened into the conversation.
Mrs Blay, who is married to the Acting Chairman of the NPP, said the business plan of the paper is to put out any information that will trigger excitement of majority of NPP supporters.
Shocked by her comments, host of the show, Kwabena Anokye Adisi, popularly known as Bola Ray, described the policy of the newspaper to sensationalize issues for cash as very unprofessional, but Gina Blay who appeared very comfortable brushed it aside saying it is not a conscious decision.
Asked whether her sympathies towards NPP makes her biased, compelling the editorial board of the paper to skew stories in favour of the NPP, she cringed.
Throughout the interview she tried to dispute the tag that the Daily Guide is an NPP tabloid.
“I doubt if other newspapers are not sensational. We do …..eeeeerhm especially Tabloid newspapers for example, Tabloid is not a negative word. It only shows the size of the paper. It is not so much about politics,” Mrs Blay, a member of the National Media Commission argued.
The confession of Daily Guide’s secret, coming in the wake of this week’s false publication alleging Minister for Roads and Highways and MP for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inussah Fuseini, paid 80,000 cedis to music icon, Shatta Wale to perform at his campaign launch has angered NPP sympathizers who feel insulted by the comments.
“So Daily Guide has been feeding us with false impression about the situation on the ground. No wonder Nana Akufo Addo lost the elections twice. Why should a paper refuse to publish stories that paint the true picture on the ground but seeks its business interest by feeding me with false hope?” Ankamah Asiamah told this newspaper.
The CEO of Western Publications Ltd – Publishers of Daily Guide newspaper however said times have changed and the paper is considering changing its focus.
According to her, times have changed and it is difficult for Daily Guide to ignore achievements by President John Mahama’s administration.
“NDC members read Daily Guide but the NPP supporters read it more. Private newspapers hardly get adverts. If you notice, the past two or three elections, we hardly got adverts from either parties, NPP however a bit. But times are changing. It’s a business decision” she emphasized adding that they care less about the impact.
Incidentally, Gina Blay is married to the acting Chairman of the NPP, Freddie Blay who has been allegedly condemned by the NPP for promoting the re-election bid of President John Mahama in the forthcoming general elections in her newspaper.
Mrs Blay confirmed allegations of threats and insults launched on the management by die hard NPP supporters when she explained that there have since been unabated queries over her husband’s loyalty to the cause of the party.
Some hardliners in the party are reportedly scheming for the removal or sidelining of the acting Chairman, whose performance since the suspension of Chairman Paul Afoko has been described as very abysmal and embarrassing to the NPP brand.
Others are still suspicious of Mr Freddie Blay who joined the party after serving the CPP as MP for several years is only exploiting a comfort zone in the NPP when his party rejected him after the 2008 elections for betraying his loyalty.
What perhaps will provoke NPP supporters even more is Gina Blay’s public statement that she is not a member of the party.
“I’m not a member of the NPP… but I’m a sympathizer of the NPP,” it’ll be odd if I weren’t, but I’m because my husband is and the whole family is,” she told host Bola Ray.
Her statement shocked many NPP supporters because Gina Blay made it in the many years she served as Presidential correspondent for the Daily Guide. She travelled to almost everywhere in the world with President Kuffuor.
“Is Freddie Blay saying that without promoting NDC achievements and asking his readers to vote for John Mahama, his paper will collapse? How has his newspaper survived all these years without the NDC advertisement?”….a leading member of the NPP, Nana Fredua allegedly lamented recently on an Accra based radio programme.
Speculations are rife that Nana Akufo-Addo who is unhappy about the Daily Guide’s position which serves the company’s interest, is choosing cash over loyalty to the NPP. The NPP Presidential candidate however finds it difficult to axe Freddie Blay too because it will deepen perceptions about his intolerance and vindictive nature.
But the Acting National Chairman of NPP, Freddie Blay has personally waded into the controversy reportedly describing his critics, accusing him of promoting John Mahama, as silly and ignorant.