On 20 March 2021, the newly formed MTA Wahab Adam (Ghana) Studio’s team had the opportunity to seek guidance from Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa through a virtual mulaqat.
After the live stream started and Huzooraa conveyed his salaam, Huzooraa noted that the team was dressed in a uniform. Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa then led everyone in dua.
As always, everyone introduced themselves in the mulaqat and Huzooraa enquired about their roles and responsibilities.
A short video introduction to the various MTA Africa studios was shown to Huzooraa by the team. Some of the facts and figures of the introductory video included:
The establishment of 10 MTA studios and offices across Africa, including Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Mauritius
A total of 52 full-time staff members and 300 volunteers across 10 studios and offices
200 studio programmes produced so far
300 promos and fillers produced
58 documentaries produced
The current languages of MTA Africa studios include English, Swahili, French, Creole, Yoruba, Hausa, Lugandan and Twi
Coordinator MTA Ghana, Hafiz Maulvi Ismaeel Ahmed Adusei Sahib presented an introduction to MTA Ghana’s Wahab Adam Studio to Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa. He said Huzooraa instructed in 2014 that a purpose-built MTA Ghana studio be constructed. For this, land was donated by two Ahmadis – Al-Haj Abu Muhammad Sahib and Al-Haj Hakim Andani Sahib.
The foundation stone was laid by the late Amir, Abdul Wahab Sahib and the IAAAE team built the studios and locals helped with volunteering. Hafiz Ismaeel Sahib reported that the Wahab Ahmad Studio is the first purpose-built studio of MTA Africa and the largest MTA studio outside the markaz. The construction started in 2014 and was completed in 2017.
Over the years, the Wahab Adam studio has had a close relation with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and has provided training to hundreds of their staff. In return, the GBC agreed to give MTA Ghana time slots on national television to air their own programmes.
The Wahab Adam Studio continues to train the wider public, including students from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.
Since 2019, the Wahab Adam Studio has been translating the live sermons of Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa. Currently, there are 19 full-time staff members and over 60 volunteers. The Wahab Adam Studio had provided approximately 60% of the content played on MTA Africa. Hafiz Ismaeel Sahib reported that Jamia International Ghana has played a pivotal role in helping to produce programmes and to respond to the questions received from the public.
Hafiz Ismaeel Sahib then sought permission to give a video virtual tour of the Wahab Adam Studio to Huzooraa. Seeing the reception, Huzooraa commented, “Your reception area is better than our UK studio’s reception area.”
Seeing the main studio, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa advised, “Your main studio needs to be improved further.”
Ismaeel Sahib confirmed this was in the pipeline, to which Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said, “May Allah the Almighty bless you.”
The attendees then gave their introductions. Speaking with the Head of Programming, Maulvi Yussuf Abdul Khalique Sahib, Huzooraa asked if he had qualified from Jamia Ahmadiyya Ghana and whether he had a Shahid Degree. Yussuf Sahib replied in the affirmative.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa then said to the attendees that the sound quality of the meeting was poor and said:
“All the programmes which were organised in this studio by the MTA studio staff for other amila members and murabiyyan and even Jamia Ahmadiyya were all of good quality, but here, when the turn of your MTA staff comes, then the sound quality is poor.”
Huzooraa then asked how many programmes were produced every week and how many of them were interactive and live? Yussuf Sahib said, at times, up to 20 programmes were produced every week while at other times, there were less. He reported only one weekly live programme was aired at the moment.
Huzooraa said, “You should have some live programmes as well; question and answer programmes.”
Yussuf Sahib said they would, insha-Allah, act on this guidance.
Speaking with Sadik Abbas Sahib, Head of Training, Huzooraa asked about his qualifications and about the training that took place.
Bashirudeen Adam Sahib, head of post-production reported next and detailed his responsibilities. Huzooraa asked him whether the department had qualified graphic experts or if they did it on their own. Bashirudeen Sahib reported his team were good at creating graphics and did the work on their own without external assistance.
Mirza Saleh Ahmad Sahib, a post-production team member, was next to speak. Huzooraa asked about his qualifications and when he came to Ghana. Saleh Sahib reported that he did a BA in mass communication from Islamabad University, Pakistan and on the approval of Huzooraa, he came to Ghana in 2017. Huzooraa asked him how many hours he worked a day, to which Saleh Sahib reported that he tried to work 10 hours every day. In response, Huzooraa remarked, “That is good.”
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa asked about the department and said the fillers that were made should be made in every single language and that fillers should not just be standard ones; rather, quotations of the Promised Messiahas and video snippets of Huzoor’s sermons should be shown as fillers. Huzooraa said the fillers should take up all the allocated time they have.
Abdul Rahman Baah Sahib, Transport Manager was next to report. Huzooraa asked him how many vehicles they had and whether they were equipped for all the necessary broadcasting needs, including a dish for transmission within their vehicles. To this, Abdul Rahman Sahib said they didn’t have such vehicles and the two vehicles they had were just for transporting staff.
Speaking with the receptionist and in-charge of hospitality, Osofu Appiah Sahib, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa asked how many people visited the studios every day and what the purpose of their visits was. Osofu Sahib said that on average, five people visited the studio every day and they visited because “most of them have heard about the Wahab Adam Studio having a studio – a magnificent edifice. And most of them would like to come and have a view of the studio. Some of them are Ahmadis and others, Christians and the likes.”
Yakubu Buabeng, Master Control Room (MCR) Operator (in-charge of transmissions) spoke to Huzooraa next. Regarding his responsibility, Huzooraa said:
“This is a very sensitive post. Everything is in your hand; you have to be very very careful, right? Nothing should be aired without filtering from your side.”
Huzooraa then asked how they did checks and controls. Yakubu Sahib said they checked all the content and the quality of the programmes. At this, in a light-hearted manner, Huzooraa said:
“And the quality of sound as well. But you did not check the quality of the sound today. This is why I cannot hear you properly.”
An elderly gentleman, Mohammed Affum Sahib, who is a volunteer for MTA Ghana Studios introduced himself. Huzooraa asked him which department he volunteered for, to which he explained that as a retired broadcaster, he helped and gave his expertise where needed. Huzooraa asked his age by saying, “How old are you? 70?” to which Affum Sahib said he was 72. To this, Huzooraa said, “You look quite young masha-Allah.”
Ibrahim Asante Sahib, a volunteer, introduced himself next. Seeing him, Huzooraa said, “You have been coming here, so your face is quite familiar to me.”
Huzooraa asked about his work in MTA, where he worked professionally and what his qualifications were. Ibrahim Sahib said he worked at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and had a doctorate in technology development and transfer.
Huzooraa remarked, “Masha-Allah” and then asked if he was living in the UK and what he was doing in the UK. Ibarahim Sahib said he had been in the UK for 17 years studying and also working for a company, but had now moved back to Ghana and returned to the UK every so often.
Guiding the producer of the Real Talk programme, Abdul Samad Issah Sahib, about producing the programme in the Covid-19 environment, Huzooraa said, “The Real Talk programme can be organised online. Why can’t you produce it?” To this, Issah Sahib said he would follow this advice.
Discussing the production of programmes amid Covid-19, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said the following to Raqib Abdul Majeed Sahib, who is a volunteer producer: “Covid should not be any excuse; you can do it without any problem.”
Abdul Moomen Muslim Sahib, a volunteer presenter who also presents programmes for children reported next. Advising him, Huzooraa said:
“Germany studios is making good kids’ programmes, so you should also try to make programmes on that pattern or any other pattern which you deem appropriate for your circumstances and the condition and the psyche of the people of Africa.
“You need so many programmes; some programmes which can give some knowledge to the children about their religion and contemporary issues as well [are needed] because nowadays, because of the media, children, at a very young age, are very much well aware of so many things. So, you should also feed them according to our teachings and traditions.”
Rashid Baidoo Sahib, a volunteer, was next to speak. Looking at his physique, Huzooraa smiled and said, “Do you also go to the gym?” – Rashid Baidoo Sahib enjoyed the comment and responded by saying he didn’t go to the gym. To this, Huzooraa said, “Masha-Allah […] your physique shows you are a very regular gym-going person.”
Talking to Basharat Khalid Sahib, a volunteer who produces and presents the programme Misconceptions Removed, Huzooraa remarked, “How many misconceptions have you removed till today?”. Huzooraa further said, “I think, by now, half of the Ghanaian people should be well aware of the Islamic teachings.”
Next, the Lajna Coordinator of MTA Ghana, Munirat Aidoo Sahiba, introduced herself. Commenting on efforts of the Lajna in MTA Ghana, Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa said:
“You have been producing quite a lot of programmes. Sometimes I do watch your programmes and they are quite informative. Lajna is doing well, and although men are also [doing well], the men should not be jealous [because] Lajna is also doing well.”
Huzooraa asked the Lajna scheduling in-charge about her work and how programmes were scheduled. Discussing programmes and what to do if there are no programmes to air from the programming department, Huzooraa said:
“When there is any space left and there is no programme [available to air], then you should have some programmes for the transmission department to be immediately televised. There should be some [contingency] plan as well at the same time.”
Speaking to another Lajna member, Huzooraa said:
“You should make some emergency plan as well, just to cover in case you don’t receive any plan from the programming department.”
Another Lajna member introduced herself and said she produced the programme Inspirational Africans. Huzooraa asked how the programme was proving inspirational for women, to which she explained that they interviewed successful African women and asked them how they achieved their success and the positive influence of God and religion in their journey. Huzooraa asked whether the programme’s focus was religion in general or took an Islamic perspective. The Lajna member said they always took the programme back to Islamic teachings and what Allah had done for the person. To this, Huzooraa said, “Yes, that’s right.”
Amtu Subur Osman Sahiba, a producer of a new programme about food, introduced herself. Huzooraa asked her what the programme entailed, to which she said it was to guide people towards healthy eating habits. In response, Huzooraa asked how less privileged people could follow the instructions they gave in the programme and said:
“Your instructions are only for the well-off people, but the less privileged cannot benefit [from your instructions]. Are you asking them not to take fufu and okra soup and jollof? Or do you guide them as to the quantity of the food they should take every day so they do not become obese?”
Huzooraa then said feedback of the programme should be sought, even if the programme was new, “So that you will know if people like your programme or not. If you are asking them to take less food or nutritional food that is not even available to most of the [less privileged] people, then they will ask, ‘What kind of programming are you doing?’”
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa then said, “Anyway, you should continue with this programme; I am not discouraging you!”
Saeeda Yawson Sahiba, a volunteer with the Lajna production department, introduced herself. Huzooraa asked about her father and went on to say, “You were a very small child when I was there [in Ghana].”
At the end, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“Ghana studio is doing very well, but I want that this should be the best studio and channel in Ghana in particular and in Africa in general. So, you should make your programmes according to that.”
While talking about viewership and responding to a statement made by one of the members that a lot of Ghanaians were watching MTA, Huzooraa said:
“Do you have the data? Only to say a lot of Ghanaians are watching is not enough. You should do some research and find out how many Ghanaians are watching our television and which of the programmes they like, so that you can give more emphasis on that programme. And what type of programmes do they need? We have to do all this research.”
Ahmad Mensah Sahib asked Huzooraa for the solution to the youth watching other channels more than MTA due to entertainment. He asked what type of programmes should be produced to draw their attention to MTA.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa responded by saying:
“Now, people are becoming materialists. So, obviously they will go to other entertainment channels where they see music and dancing etc. which we cannot do. We should present some good programmes, so they are attracted by these programmes. And you should even do some research, make a questionnaire and distribute it to the different areas, in different pockets, in different cities and [to] different people from different backgrounds, so that you know what people want from you with regard to your religious programmes or the contemporary issues programmes. So, you can make them according to that.
“Although we cannot produce or show music or dancing programmes, we can show some other programmes which are of their interest. But for that, you will have to do some research. Make a team in different areas, different cities, different types of people; if you get information from those people, then you will know what to do.”
At this, Huzooraa said the time was over and said, “Next time, you should try to better your sound quality”.
Huzooraa then remarked that Umer Safir Sahib (Director MTA Africa) was also present and asked him if he would like to say anything. Umer Sahib said that that was all and thanked Huzooraa for the meeting and that there were some members in the control room who, if Huzooraa permitted, would like to say their salaam to Huzooraa.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa accepted and asked if the camera would turn to them or they would come out. Umer Sahib said they would be called out. Thereafter the head of production, the head of IT, the stores’ manager, a member who worked in the post-production department and a camera operator had the opportunity to meet with Huzooraa and introduce themselves. Huzooraa asked each member their names and about their roles.
At this, Huzooraa conveyed his salaam and the meeting ended.
(Report prepared by Al Hakam)