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Opinions of Monday, 17 July 2006

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato

Ghana: Of Reasoning, Freedom and Insults.

In a world fast developing into an arena for fruitful debate and intellectual exchanges, it could only be seen as appropriate an index provided by the Center for Media Analysis (CMA-Ghana), that the private print media in Ghana is descending to a level of parody and insults.

Thanks to the Accra Daily Mail, an Accra-based private newspaper for publishing the unedited report as regards the behavior of people who have been well positioned to use the pen to educate, inform and entertain.

Once upon a “journalistic” time, I wrote that Accra Daily Mail was one of the best newspapers in Ghana. That alone generated a basketful of insults from people who hold a different opinion. Instead of simply stating it was a newspaper that does not warrant such a status from a personal standpoint, the emails that trickled in even graduated to the level of insulting people who were not related to the topic.

That was not good,but I will continue to write because it satisfies the inner desire of someone trained to use the pen regardless.

The insults further explain the level of intolerance, with its accompanying backlash directed toward individuals, friends, relatives, and officialdom. We have become impatient, filled with misplaced priorities and backlash.

For some Ghanaians, irrelevant issues that have no bearing on issues at stake are redesigned with a combative edge which they use frequently to destroy others.

They are Ghanaians who continue to live with the vestiges of wrongness, false hope, lack of courage , and disrespect . “The evil that men do............................"

The CMA report should have covered news /stories, and the misuse of the internet, emphasizing its misuse by Ghanaians who are afraid to reveal their true identities, hiding under the cover of information technology to launch verbal attacks and blatant lies.

Most of these Ghanaians are cowards, especially those living abroad, modern day adversaries of hate clothed with jealousy. They use freedom of speech for the wrong reason, sometimes known or unknown to them, their identities are revealed by the very system designed to protect them.

While congratulating the Accra Daily Mail and Dr. Messan Mawuenga of CMA, for highlighting these bad developments, of insults and profanity, the lessons are there, urging us to re-think, and re-orient our thoughts for the good of our country.

Ghanaians trading in insults and lies under the umbrella of free speech have showcased how we are becoming verbally abusive and intolerant, how we have become distractive to the course of progress through that inky immorality.

We have been subdued by want, and overly/negatively ambitious to destroy others, spread falsehood. We have disguised ourselves for the purpose of bashing others. These are bad citizens of Ghana parading , and touting as brave men.

If, indeed, the internet is to help all of us because it democratizes information, then it means people are overlooking this important attribute.

For many Ghanaians abroad, the internet has become a tool for manufacturing falsehood, instead of using it effectively to promote research, flexibility, and to access relevant information hitherto unknown.

In that state of rejection and falsehood emerges such names as “abonsam, Nkwaseasem, Ghanaboy, Kooko, Guy Polo, Okra, Senya Broni, Go slow, Obaa Sima (used deceptively), Bubra, Osofo, and others.

The list is long, but together, these faceless Ghanaians pursue an agenda of hate, very destructive and envious. Their main reason is immersed in jealousy, lack of confidence in themselves, emotional struggle, and doom.

But we can still learn because God gave us dominion over some things. That explains why free speech has not been the preserve of any group or society, not even in modern liberalized democracies where citizens know they can speak freely, but still do so with caution and respect for others.

To enable us learn from other examples, we have to redefine who we are, our culture, and the values that shape our convictions. That way, we can behave in a more functional way, rather than opting for anonymity havens and unsafe technological protections through the internet.

Right-thinking people do not change their names to perpetuate falsehood. The flip side represents people engaged in subtle orchestrated slurs, and hate commentaries.

If we still believe, that restrictions should be the exception, and free speech the rule, then it is only appropriate that we re-organize our thoughts to fulfill the essential parameters of information flow by reaping the benefits therein.

For this to happen, judicious use of language becomes the key to our survival as a people living in a civilized community.

It is so, because the inherent reason is that, refined language can help reduce, if not eliminate, these countless, unnecessary, and infantile vituperations that are,indeed, counter-productive and frail.

To the discerning reader, I say, “O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men (not women, the internet also helps to reveal their real identities as men) have lost their reason….

Bear with me; I would also prefer, that “My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, as was in the case of Mark Anthony, believing that”I must also pause till it come back to me”.

Author: Ato Aidoo, former associate, features desk, Daily Graphic, Accra, Ghana, now lives in Evans, GA.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.