Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ghana civil servants face TV ban

Ghana's president has risked a backlash by banning civil servants from watching TV at work - just as the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament begins.

The information ministry said it was "unfortunate" that President John Atta Mills's directive had come into effect at the same time as the tournament.

The government is worried that workers are becoming addicted to Nigerian soap operas and Latin American telenovelas.

It comes months after civil servants in Nigeria were hit with a similar ban.

'Love of football'

Ghana's Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa told the BBC's David Amanor that punishments for breaking the rule would range from a telling off to a disciplinary committee.

Despite being information minister, Mr Ablakwa said he never watched television at work.

And he stressed that the directive covered working hours - 0800 until 1230 and 1330 until 1730 - so civil servants could watch football outside of those hours.

"We're not so sure that this directive will so much affect Ghanaians' love for football or ability to follow football matches," he said.

"Within working hours, we're supposed to be working."

Ghana's Black Stars play their first match on Friday against Ivory Coast.

The TV ban is in force in ministries, departments and agencies, but it does not affect hospital wards, waiting rooms and receptions.

Source: BBC

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