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Opinions of Sunday, 25 February 2007

Columnist: Antoh, S. G. Jnr.

Absolute Nonsense

That’s what it is, for I have no other way of describing it. I found it repugnant, condescending, irritating and deeply insulting, that another radio station, sitting in the culturally bankrupt enclave of a place called London would confer on indigenous radio stations in Africa certain awards based on their own criteria. Truth is, for sometime now, there has been an ongoing move by these quasi-imperialist entities to stretch forth their neo-colonial tentacles into Africa by means of the media: witness “CNN Awards” and now “BBC Radio Awards”! What is wrong with us?

Without prejudice to the personal integrity of the winners of these so-called awards, I pose the question as to whether we need the BBC to tell us which station is doing well and which one is not. How and why do they have the effrontery to judge West African radio stations based on their own criteria, nothing brewed in Africa, based on their own standards, something created in the degenerate societies of the west, based on their own perceptions, something fashioned after years and years of degrading and denigrating Africa, never reporting anything good coming out of our continent. Today, they seek to give an impression of “making-up” with us, and unfortunately, some of our lap dogs are gloating. How sad!

What surprised me most about the so-called awards was the shocking charge of an inability to “confer” any award in the sports category because “according to the judges all the entries were sub-standard and could not meet the criteria”. Sub-standard! Because we don’t follow their criteria? Why do they judge us by their standards? Now don’t get me wrong, for I make no case for the reward of mediocrity but who gave the right to decide what the “standard” is to the BBC? Since when did Bush House acquire the bona fides to do that which their forbearers did by entering Africa again to start bestowing “royal edicts” on those they think are likely channels for promoting their neo-colonialist agendas? We are not deceived, neither are we impressed. As a matter of fact, they can take their awards and shove it. They will be better off explaining to the world when they would confront their Queen and her ancestors for the wrongs they have plunged all their former colonies into. I have tried to find a single ex-colony of England that is safe, secure, prosperous and without problems and frankly I found none: there is no place that the British went to and did not leave problems- witness India, Palestine, Nigeria, Canada, Australia…they have messed everywhere and now they conveniently turn round to give us awards? How insulting, so very insulting!

As for the recipients, well what can I say? Is anybody surprised? Kofi Owusu of Joy FM went on an exchange programme with the BBC. The BBC has a working arrangement with Joy FM and to the extent that at Bush House can be found the likes of Komla Dumor as part of the African Service team, are we surprised? Citi FM is simply Citi FM. They have striven to do what they do well and although I believe their best programme remains “Eye Witness News” then and properly hosted by Paul Adom-Otchere, I suspect that programme wasn’t entered into the competition. Notwithstanding that, it is not for the BBC to tell us how Citi FM is doing for I ask: do they listen to Citi FM everyday as we do? Are they aware of the internal wrangling in that station between the General Manager and his personnel which has led to some departures and strange dismissals among others? Maybe they should talk to Jon Germain and the like. We are not deceived at all, despite the fact that Citi by Ghanaian and African standards is doing well. We don’t need the BBC to tell us that in their condescending craftiness. If they are looking for new transmission belts for western ideas, they should create their own and desist from the “indirect rule” method of forging weird partnerships to satisfy their prejudices about our wonderful continent which they destroyed so regrettably until the middle of the 20th Century. We know their likes.

One other thing: did Ghana dominate the awards because of a certain Vera Kwakofie among other many Ghanaians work on the African Service? The roll call is interesting in that section of the BBC: there is also Ibrahim Sani Diara. Now you can imagine how he must have felt on the details of the reasons for which no Sports Journalist of the Year was awarded. In all truth, I am glad that they did not give that award for we do not need the BBC to tell us how to report sports news in Africa for Africans. We shall continue to invite friends to discuss sports, we shall report live the way want it, we shall run commentary on mobile phones and croon till our voices are no longer audible, we shall also sound western as and when we please for that is the essence of the freedom we won from their Queen and NOBODY would tell us when to stop that. If the BBC cannot understand these simple edicts and wants to “counter” the so-called “CNN Effect” by this disingenuous and insulting award, I wish them good luck. We however will treat the awards with the suspicious and disdainful eye that we view it, despite the gloating of those entities that unfortunately consider those awards as a feather in their cap. In the end, it is the masses of our continent and respective countries that would judge the contribution of radio to their lives and unveil the standards by which that contribution would be made: not the lost generation of Africans at Bush House or Messrs Vera Kwakofie, Bola Mosuro, Professor Dora Nkem Akunyili and Selase Kwawu. That, fortunately is the refreshing reality against which the tide of neo-colonial media manipulation and western continuing bigotry is swimming.

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