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Editorial News of Tuesday, 21 April 2020


Paul Adom-Otchere: The ‘representational agency’ of a failed state?

Paul Adom-Otchere Paul Adom-Otchere

Paul Adom-Otchere’s attack on Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings MP, aired on Good Evening Ghana on April 16, 2020, has put him in the social media crucible.

Ghanaians, however, argue for broader institutional reforms which will situate Adom-Otchere’s type where it rightly belongs.

His latest “stop misbehaving” commentary - against the Klottey-Korle MP itself shows the pettiness of our journalism, politics, governance and public discourse.

Whilst Adom-Otchere was wrong in saying that the MP should have first consulted the Gender and Social Protection Minister before issuing her press release, the MP also inappropriately chose to exclusively focus on unfair sharing of cooked food in her constituency.

In best practice examples around the world, cash and or uncooked food is served in an orderly fashion. Is this what we are unable to arrange and execute in Ghana?

Paul Adom-Otchere has over the last 24 years attacked a lot of people, distorted history, and favoured and or maligned all political administrations.

Going forward Good Evening Ghana and Paul Adom-Otchere need to distinguish clearly between 1) advertorials, 2) editorials, 3) straight talk interviews, 4) promotional interviews, as examples, so that their viewers will know the context within which to place the content.

A solid editorial team which includes producers, scriptwriters, and researchers will be needed if Good Evening Ghana, one of the longest-running TV shows in ghana is to continuously improve.

As things stand, Good Evening Ghana (GEG) is owned and produced by Paul Adom-Otchere with Metro TV being the broadcast medium. It is interesting that Metro TV has been awkwardly silent anytime Good Evening Ghana hits a low ebb.

Adom-Otchere himself and his Good Evening Ghana TV show are members of Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA). There has so far been no public ethical cautions when GIBA members generally misbehave – an almost daily occurrence.

Besides, National Communications Authority (NCA) on whose board Paul Adom-Otchere serves as a member has always shifted responsibility for electronic media infractions on the National Media Commission (NMC) which is also long in the tooth.

All told there are individual professional failures and the failure of relevant institutions to live up to their responsibilities.

In “Parody number 2: inside my copywriting class”, Anne M. Cronin’s “Public Relations Capitalism: Promotional Culture, Publics and Commercial Democracy” is referenced in which the sociologist interviewed 50 PR practitioners.

She concluded that institutions are losing their “representational agency” role to an emerging corps of commercial and charity organisations which are gaining traction as mediators between institutions and the general public.

Cronin states further that when politicians/business leaders lose their credibility, they look for "representational agency" in so-called media and PR gurus to do their dirty work for them.

Having joined commercial radio from the early days of media liberation in 1995, and having hosted continuously the twice-weekly Good Evening Ghana TV current affairs programme since 2000, Paul Adom-Otchere and his show should be superlative in quality content by now.

Media critics are urged to see the broader context of the wide prevalence of poor standards in journalism, politics and state institutions within Ghana wherein regular lightweight stuff makes individuals out as local champions.

Just look around – infantile, sophomoric analysis and, banal pronouncements abound.

Let us therefore acknowledge and tackle the deeper issues of institutional reforms and didactic excellence.

Then when lessons are learnt the rubrics of media production, public discourse and institutional governance, we shall readily eschew the pronouncements of lightweights if they fail to grow up.

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