Feature Article of Saturday, 24 March 2012
Columnist: Nkrumah-Agyapong, Kwame
for his unprecedented press freedom credentials
This unprecedented decision to halt the state institutions and National Democratic Congress from speaking to Multi-Media group is very dangerous for our country and one of the worse decisions the NDC government has taken. The image of the NDC may not be as important but the decision to ban the Multi-Media Group Limited (MGL) from covering its public events smacks of intolerance, undermine press freedom, shallow and embarrassing to Ghanaians at large.
More importantly, as much as the NDC is entitled to refuse its members to engage the MGL, they have no right to starve large section of the populace who depend on MGL platforms to understand government policies, programmes and the process of decision making.
If the NDC as a political party has issues with the MGL, they have to learn to separate Government institutions from the political party. They cannot force the people to choose which TV channels and radio stations to watch or listen to. The other astonishing part of this manifestly ill-conceived directive is the instruction to all government departments and agencies not to grant interviews or advertise on MGL networks. This is a brazen contravention of one of the major requirements of the civil and public services which expects public servants to provide information to the general public unless in extreme circumstances relative to national security. This decision therefore is a breach of a fundamental requirement in our fledgling democracy – the right of the people to know what their government gets up to.
Unless there’s more to it than meets the eye, the common perception in Ghana is that the MGL is pro-NDC and the Peace FM is pro-NPP. If any political party has any cause for complaint, it is the Convention People's Party (CPP) which has no or limited space in either the public or private media organisations. The party has largely been ignored due to its inability to insult, pick up arms or undermine its opponents. It has become a case of if the CPP would not fight dirty and ugly, raise the spectre of blood-shed, proclaim doom and gloom and posture a winner-take-all mentality, then the media houses would not grant them space.
Perhaps this is a wake up call to all the media organisations in the country, public and private, that by providing such unfair unrestrained access only to NDC and NPP both of whom are practically at war to present the most extreme front to the detriment of the CPP, they are knowingly aiding and abetting in the thinly-veiled but relentless drive to tip our country into the abyss. It must also be a wake-up-call to the public to be aware of this tinder box waiting to explode. The voices of moderation, reason and temperance led by the CPP must be given equal opportunities in both public and private media. These media organisations and their bed-fellows in the NDC and NPP must be made to understand that extremists and fanatics do not build a nation but nationalism and patriotism does and the CPP represents these attributes. It may be instructive to take a quick look at recent events in oil-producing countries to learn a few lessons. If the prophets of doom and the extremists have their way come December this year, it should not surprise anyone when we learn that our oil-fields have been taken over by the imperialist armed forces ostensibly here to keep the peace but actually to ensure our oil reaches their countries while were are busy killing each other. Iraq, Libya readily comes to mind. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself. It is not too late. Let the message of tolerance, moderation, respect and temperance championed by the CPP be heard across the land. That the Ghanaian is indeed capable of managing his own affairs.
This bizarre directive by the NDC is very embarrassing, witticism, backwards and it’s about time that the government learn to respect the great people of Ghana and take forward-looking decisions to project a better image of Ghana.