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Opinions of Sunday, 5 June 2011

Columnist: Agyemang, Frank

It’s time to sanitise the media landscape in Ghana

One does not need to be a clairvoyance to observe that most media houses have lost their reputations by virtue of their performance. Well respected media practitioners have had cause to complain about the kind of journalism prevailing in the country.
Director of the School of Communication Studies at Legon, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo and the Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa, Professor Kwame Karikari have been at the forefront trying to call the media to order. These two distinguished persons have always used any given platform for media interactions to educate the media about highest journalistic standards and ethics.
The least opportunity they get, they urge the media to re-direct their focus on health and developmental issues instead of setting partisan and divisive agendas.
A new Campaigner, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, the renowned media practitioner who recently retired from active media work has also begun the crusade against irresponsible and unprofessional media practice. Fortunately, the two-time Journalist of the Year is not a novice in this job. I am glad he’s been doing this for close to thirty years, and not just that, but he’s covered stories from Israel, Mexico, Haiti, Libya, Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, Nigeria and Liberia. Kwaku has written for The Economist, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday in the UK, and trained broadcast journalists in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana.
The above mentioned persons (Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, Professor Kwame KariKari and Kwaku Sakyi-Addo) could form a formidable team to deliberately champion the course of media sanity and challenge practitioners to adopt highest journalistic standards. As it stands right now, it’s obvious that the utmost threat to journalism in Ghana today is unprofessionalism and irresponsibility on the part of some media practitioners.
In reality, the position of the media as the Fourth Estate is threatened because instead of being a check on the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary, the media front is rather sounding very partisan and divisive. By this partisan posture, it would be difficult for the citizens to make informed decisions and make meaningful contributions towards governance.
It’s time for other practitioners to be bold and be part of the crusade for highest standard of journalistic practice. Unless that is done, citizens will lose confidence in the media and once that happens, the media will lose its role and power. After all, most Ghanaians, if not all, are aware that some media houses have become weapons in the hands of some unscrupulous politicians and influential people in the society.
Editors have a huge role to play in sanetising the media landscape. In fact, they are the key to regaining the media reputation. Obviously, some editors are compromised and have sold their consciences. For such persons, most Ghanaians have made them out and they are at the verge of losing their credibility. It now behoves the rest to become the agenda setters instead of agenda followers.

Frank Agyemang