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Opinions of Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Columnist: Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei

‘Chop-Chop’ Has Now Become Ghana’s Fourth Estate Of The Realm

Many Ghanaians have had the opportunity to study, live, work or even visit any of the developed nations. When it comes to government officials, in addition to these afore-mentioned categories of people having had the chance of sampling life in a developed nation, they also have the added privilege of embarking on weekly foreign travels, some of which are often nothing but plain jolly rides, to these developed nations. Most of these government officials, under the current NDC administration, have even gone a step further to actually embark on trips to these developed nations just to deliver their highly Isofotonic babies. And even on such private trips, these ministers had the nerve to stay in official government accommodations at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer, as it was in the case of Zita Okaikoi when she embarked on a private trip to America to deliver a baby.

Personally, I have had the opportunity to travel extensively across the globe and actually sampled the kind of lifestyle the people lead in their countries. Research into global politics has always been my hobby and when I land in a country, the very first thing I do is to sample the nature of politics being practised, the players involved and how the media are mirroring the developments. This then helps me to form an idea as to what the people of a nation think and direction they expect their leaders to take them.

It has been accepted globally that the media is the fourth estate of the realm; this is so, for the simple reason that a government anywhere is simply an aggregation of characters the society itself is made of. So, in a society where truth has been consciously crucified on a wooden cross and lies elevated in a golden palanquin, you are certain to have these very same types of people openly walking with their crooked chins up and shoulders well spread out, all the way into corridors of power.

Now, when such crooked selfish brats, through wicked lies and vile propaganda, have succeeded in taking over the reins of governance and are busily practising their perfect trade of naked robbery of state coffers, the only hope of ordinary people then falls on the power of the media for protection by way of exposing these wicked nation wreckers.

I watched the debate between Mitt Romney of the Republican Party and Barack Obama on the night of 3rd October, 2012 on CNN and I was left with no reason to understand why America is the most powerful and economically endowed nation on earth. During the debate, Barack Obama said his administration had created 5million jobs but the host of the programme pointed it out to him that, that assertion cannot be true since under his (Obama) administration, over 4million Americans had lost their jobs so if 5million had been created in its place, then it simply stands to reason that the real number of jobs currently existing under Obama’s reign is 5million minus over 4million lost which then come to less than 1million.

Now, that host of the programme was able to point out the discrepancy in Obama’s presentation of figures on employment, because he had directed his mind to the real facts by way of extensive research work. In this day of information super-highway where answers to every question can easily be obtained by the click of a button, a professional media practitioner has no business engaging in useless conjectures and plundering to the whims and caprices of political office holders.

Times are indeed very hard in Ghana, economic wise, and this is pushing otherwise very sincere people to swiftly abandon their age-old principled positions on matters of national importance, to have their eagle eyes rather perfectly fixed in direction where they hope to receive gargantuan ‘nkwan deewa’ emancipation.

During Kufuor’s administration, characters as Kwesi Pratt, Raymond Archer, Alhassan Suhiyini, A.B.A Fuseini and their horde of insipid propagandists were of the opinion that as journalists, ethics of their profession mandate them to always focus attention on activities of a ruling government and its appointees since they are the ones collecting the revenues of the nation and are therefore supposed to be checked to make sure these collected monies belonging to the citizenry are put to good use. They said the voice of ordinary citizens against wrong-doings in corridors of power can only be heard when media practitioners jettisoned the habit of being in bed with government officials with the intent of covering up state sanction corruption.

As a result, this afore-mentioned group of journalists constituted themselves into a bunch of anti-graft crusaders that promised to keep governing party officials and appointees on their toes, irrespective of which group of people are in power. This bunch of self-acclaimed journalistic angels were so sharp with their scrutiny of imaginary acts of corruption under Kufuor’s administration to the point where even pictures of hotel rooms where the sitting president slept on his foreign travels, were splashed on front pages of newspapers.

Colleague journalists of these self-style corrupt Czars who had anything contrary to say about Kufuor’s administration were described as being “in bed” with the government and therefore abandoning the core principles of journalism which mandate practitioners to always hold government accountable. It was during that period that the mantra of “coffee shop mafia” was coined by this bunch of self-styled journalistic charlatans.

Now, John Dramani Mahama’s ascension to the presidency following the demise of Atta Mills has brought about a phenomenon on Ghana’s media landscape which I believe is extremely frightening and matchlessly dangerous to the survival of our nation’s infant democracy.

I remember when Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo-Addo appeared on BBC ‘Hard Talk’ programme and in an answer to a question about details of his free SHS education policy, said the people of Ghana needed to know about it before he could put it out there on the international platform, apologists of the current NDC administration and their horde of paid journalistic charlatans were jumping up and down like male squirrels on heat, and engaged in senselessly senseless cacophonous cacophony that Nana Addo wasn’t on top of his brief, and that the promise of free SHS was a hoax.

But Nana Addo, taking his turn at an encounter with IEA, plainly laid out details of this policy and the response of these NDC insipid propagandists have been “it cannot be done because there is no existing infrastructure to accommodate the students”. Strangely, once highly respected professionals on our Ghanaian media landscape have also joined this senseless chorus of pessimism and without reading through Nana Addo’s speech in order to educate themselves on the details, they still keep asking NPP officials and communicators to prove how this policy is going to be actualized.

However, when John Dramani Mahama, as vice president, went to launch his ‘My First Coup d’état’ in America with a plane-load of journalists from Ghana, he made an appearance on VOA’s Straight Talk Africa programme hosted by Shaaka Ssaali. During the said interview, John Mahama was asked about what his administration was doing about the officially sanctioned stinky gargantuan Woyome thievery; and his response was that “well, that is a domestic affair; we are now talking to the whole of Africa so let us get on with it and issues of Woyome will be taken care of when I go home” and there has been complete media blackout on this.

Again, John Mahama, during the NDC’s manifesto launch at Ho (V/R) on 4th October 2012, enumerated highly juicy but obviously illusionist programmes to transform Ghana’s educational institutions to the standards of Cambridge, Oxford and Yale, without a single word on how these grandiose projects are going to be financed, and I hope Ghanaian journalists who have now lost their voice due to their ‘closeness’ to the Mahamas will regain their voices and ask questions, just as they did in the case of Nana Addo’s proposed free SHS policy.

Again, a huge demonstration rocked John Dramani Mahama during his recent visit to the UN general assembly in New York but none of this plane-load of media professionals who accompanied him reported this to their media outfit back home in Ghana.

Today in Ghana, the so-called senior journalists and one-time self-acclaimed corrupt-busting-angelic-loud-mouths have shamelessly abandoned their principle of holding the ruling class accountable to ensure prudent management and equitable distribution of our nation’s resources because they claim John Dramani Mahama is their friend.

So, is Ghana’s media still performing their mandated role of being “fourth estate of the realm” or, the juicy enterprise of covering up naked acts of gargantuan corruption for hefty financial reward has now become the order of the day because culprits are very good friends and benefactors?