Feature Article of Saturday, 15 December 2012
Columnist: Mensah, Solomon
By Solomon Mensah
It coincided with a scene that caught my attention from where I sat close to the Alavanyo Spot in Sunyani. Shaking off their feathers and twisting their legs as if imitating Nkansah Lil Wayne in his “Azonto Ghost,” two mother-hens tossed a helpless lizard back and forth like the pendulum.
As if by design, whereas the fragile lizard suffered this “chicken-handled” (are you thinking of manhandled?) treatment, the Multimedia Family spearheaded by Joy FM and Joy News were at the same time being ‘washed’ by some members of NPP like tomatoes sold on the Makola Market. Ah you no hear?
Before I continue, let me pause and grope for words to make things look clear to you. In this country of ours in which one cannot express his or her opinion, let me hasten to say that my pen does not write for any political party. However, I write to give honour to whom honour is due and to condemn respectively. But as certain as the annual spillage of the Bagri Dam, I am well prepared to receive the turbulent missiles that would be thrown at me by whoever thinks this piece pains him like the sting of black ant in the buttocks.
That day was Sunday, 9, 2012, when Kwadwo Oppong Nkrumah and his cohorts projected (predicted) on Joy News on the Multimedia’s “Multi TV,” the likely victory of the then Candidate John Mahama in election 2012. This projection of victory according to Kwadwo Oppong Nkrumah (Joy FM’s Morning Show host) was based upon the certified results the Station’s reporters gathered.
One important point we must bear in mind is the constant reminder these journalists kept repeating on the “Election Headquarters” – how the Joy News christened their election coverage, that the projected results were provisional.
At last when the man whose hair reminds one of Wole Soyinka sat before that hundreds of microphones, Joy Fm and Joy News were vindicated. Yeah, they seemed to have been told by Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan that thy good works have set you free.
In 2004 when Joy FM projected on the likely victory of the then Candidate John Agyekum Kuffour, Mr Jake Obitsebi Lamptey came out to announce such a victory. When questioned on why he did that his answer was as simple as a crying baby’s wish. To him, he was just echoing what Joy FM had already projected. Beautiful! Similarly, in 2008 when the same Joy FM projected Nana Akufo Addo to be ahead of his opponent Prof John Evans Ata Mills, may he rest in peace, in that year’s general elections, tempers were down for supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Another gargantuan question we must ask is, why does the NPP now see this democratic role played by Joy FM and other media houses as something uncalled for? This political blasphemy which the NPP thinks the Joy Family and other media houses such as TV3 and Metro TV have committed has resulted in some supporters of the Party, beating and molesting journalists who were on their duty of resourcing the nation with information. Heartbreaking!
It is barbaric how these disgruntled supporters chased and in other instance maltreated some reporters from the media. To Edward Balami, a reporter with TV3 Network Limited, the attack on him and his cameraman, Steven Boadi, was nothing less than an action movie. He says he narrowly escaped through the jostling of the crowd at the NPP’s demonstration at Obra Spot in Accra. While he vanished into the thin air, his cameraman unfortunately received hotter than Bukum Banku’s punches. These are just a fraction of the media attack by aggrieved persons who think the media helped in concocting false election results.
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) must be commended for acting swiftly in condemning this uncalled-for-behaviour. On page 10 of the 13th of December, 2012, the Ghanaian Times carried a statement by the GJA advising the public to lodge complaints to the National Media Commission (NMC) on any aggrieved media reportage.
So to what extent is such an attack on the media for the sheer reason of projecting electoral results unjustifiable? The word “projection” according to the Oxford Dictionary is “An estimate or a forecast of a future situation or trend based on a study of present ones.” For instance, a soccer pundit could project (predict) that Berekum Chelsea is likely to win in a match with Aduana FC. In this sense, do supporters of Aduana FC go about tearing the soccer pundit apart? Certainly NO.
The media is said to be the fourth estate and should therefore be given the freedom to operate as far as it does not impinge on the rights of the citizens. While we recognise the active role of the media in building our democracy par its excellence in election 2012, we must also have space in our hearts to accept the apology given by the executives of the NPP. A four-member delegation of the NPP led by Ms Elizabeth Ohene on Thursday apologised unreservedly to the Multimedia Group Limited for the aforementioned unprovoked attacks on journalists.
However, what the disgruntled members of the NPP should know is that nobody is restricting them from taking a court action in relation to the results of election 2012. Therefore, being in tango with the media will not solve their problem. Again, they should learn a lesson in a very popular Ibo proverb which says that when a handshake extends to the elbow, it turns into something else.
Long live the Multimedia Group and the other media houses. Long live the peace of our motherland Ghana!!!
The writer is a student-journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism