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Opinions of Saturday, 15 March 2014

Columnist: Oduro, Belinda Dentaa

Open Letter to Ghanaian Media

Dear Media of Ghana,

With reference to the #CalBank Shooting ( ASK RELEVANT QUESTIONS!

Many thanks to media who told the story of the victim. For the media who chose to set the agenda for #GhanaPolice, you forget that you each have bank accounts and this unfortunate and extremely bizarre incident could happen to you. I guess if it happened to you, you wouldn't be telling the story of Ghana police but your own story. Sometimes in certain situations, it helps to put yourself in the shoes of the other person before you act.

Media men and women of Ghana, I was under the impression you are supposed to be neutral and impartial. I was under the impression you are supposed to be a check on society for all Ghanaians. We all will not be able to interview the public relations officer of Ghana police and make ourselves heard or question certain things. The media has that opportunity and under normal circumstance is to do that for all Ghanaians. In a situation where a case is pending investigation and there are two sides to it, does it hurt to quote what each side has to say and add that the case is under investigation? However, you are free to pick a side. It is after all your media and you are free to do with it as you please. It'd however be a very good idea if you pick the side that is telling the truth (you do have investigative journalists don't you?). Otherwise you'll just come out looking foolish as you will have to keep changing your story as and when the side you chose changes their story.

Ask relevant questions! It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise they should ask Ghana police why a suspected armed robber was shot by one of their officers and was never arrested, never charged for any crime and has been a freeman ever since the incident. If Ghana police honestly felt this person was a criminal, trust me, he would have been behind bars right after the offending officer told his side of the story. It doesn't take a rocket scientist either to realise they should ask how an AK47 fires 3 times on its own during a struggle. Why? Was it locally manufactured?

For the media who did not have the contact and opportunity to interview the victim, heard the Ghana police account, went on ahead to get experts into their studios and question and discuss what Ghana police was saying, God bless you. You showed your media house is run by human beings with feelings. For those who chose to ingest all they were being fed by Ghana police, no questions asked and tried to feed it back to Ghanaians, really? Was under the impression that all journalists were trained to be more open minded than that.

Interestingly enough, no one seems interested in getting Cal Bank's account of events. Aside the statement ( Cal Bank gave out, which really was speaking in their own interest, nothing. Did I already mention that I was under the impression that the media acted as a check on society? I really would love to be patriotic as some media houses have chosen to focus on this month of March and not say what I am about to, but tell me, how does one stay patriotic to a country where its police shoot and injure you, try to tarnish your image and a section of its media aid its police in covering it up thus making themselves look good? Would any international media have handled this incident like some Ghanaian media have? Would the media of developed countries have handled this as some Ghanaian media did? Or Ghana is not there yet?

Remember, "there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but let there never be a time when we fail to protest".


Efua Dentaa.