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Opinions of Thursday, 9 October 2014

Columnist: Andoh, Isaac Kyei

Our politicians have families and loved ones too.

Their health issues should be treated with professionalism and sensitivity

On the 2nd of October 2014, my heart beat doubled at the site of a bold caption at the front page caption of the Daily Guide Newspaper “Bagbin Collapses, rushed to 37 Military Hospital.

Knowing Hon Bagbin professionally and personally, the news, which I lacked very little detail of, hit me like a thunder storm.

I didn’t expect the man I had spoken to just the day before to congratulate on his resumption as the Majority Leader to be carried like half dead the next day to the hospital. Thank God is was a news blown out of proportion.

This is coming from one who has barely known the Nandowli/Kaleo MP for half a decade. Can one therefore imagine how family members and the many who have known him for many years and have their very sustenance dependent on him reacted to this news?

Will there ever come a time when journalists in Ghana will place accuracy over time?

With the quest to be the first to break the news, facts have been thrown into the dustbin.

It is pardonable when reports about filth, sports and even politics are done sensationally, but not when it involves the breath of another man.

Professional ethics requires reporters to desist from sensationalism and also place themselves in the shoes of victims when reporting sensitive and tragic news; unfortunately, this is only valid in training and for the purpose of examination but not during practice in Ghana.

Hon Bagbin in reaction to the news revealed that he felt dizzy and begun sweating shortly after a rigorous engagement in the activities of the House.

He gave details of how, he was not carried on a stretcher, but walked by himself to his car before being driven to the 37 Military Hospital for detailed examination.

Eye witnesses have also confirmed this, including NPP Mps.

Unfortunately, the first to broke the news, a reporter of Adom FM saw a walking man being carried.

As wrong as the first report is, radio can be pardoned for such goofs given the fact that very little can be done as far as verification is concerned during live coverage.

In journalism, Newspapers are considered the most credible source of news given the ample time to verification before publication.

Worryingly, Daily Guide, by far the nation’s largest private print media and second only to the Daily Graphic could not even pick a phone, call the right people to correct the wrong of the Adom FM reporter.

They captured it boldly and eventually succeeded in getting people who would have bypassed their paper in the stands, stop to buy a copy to satisfy their curiosity.

Daily Guide are free to have their differences with NDC and forever flirt with NPP, but when it comes to the life of an individual, institutional rivalry must always give way to compassion for humanity.

Our politicians ought to be treated like the humans they are, they have family members who adores them and countless people who look up to him.

The best thing about a story is not how quick it is told, but how truthful it is.

Daily Guide’s report fell short of this and I doubt they will have the boldness to apologize.

The media is considered the Forth Estate of the Realm, but as it stands, it is fast becoming The First Estate in peddling falsehood.

Isaac Kyei Andoh