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Opinions of Sunday, 11 April 2010

Columnist: Amankwah, Kwabena

Pornographic Media & National Obscenity

Apostle decided to use this year’s Easter celebration to engage in some spiritual exercise at Nkawkaw Mountains to seek the face of God, and to receive God’s message for his people. Away from the city, where one’s eyes, on daily basis, cannot escape the obscene near-nakedness of ladies, in a so-called Christian nation, Apostle found the time spent on the Holy Mountain very worthwhile. The experience was indeed edifying and soul-lifting.

But quite ironically, on top of the same mountain was also another form of exercise, a bigger one of course, which showcased all the immoral practices and social vices one can imagine, all taking place in the name of Easter which is meant, according to Christian belief, to among others restore the lost glory of mankind as a result of sin.

The kind of pictures that greeted my eyes after I had descended the Holy Mountain was just nothing but unwholesome—pictures of visibly exposed breasts and other sensitively vital parts of ladies who had taken part in the celebration of the death of Christ.

I wish I could stay up there till thy kingdom come, but wishes were not horses for beggars to ride. Why has this level of moral decadence permeated every facet of life in a so-called Christian nation like Ghana? I asked myself.

And here was the answer I got: It is all because all the practices that promote moral decay -- talk of sexual promiscuity, indecent exposure of the body, corruption of all forms-- have been given the stamp of state endorsement.

If this was not the case, the National Media Commission whose staff are paid with the taxpayers’ money would not sit down unconcerned and allow the media to become instruments for the promotion of pornography and obscenity in the country.

Apostle felt so scandalized in the early hours of the first Thursday after the celebration of the death of Jesus Christ when as usual he decided to visit the news stands to find out was making the headlines.

Oh! I found it horrible—the P&P newspaper had carried on its front page an entirely naked picture of two guys supposedly enjoying anal sex. Oh yes, that is the order of the day in the print media of today—they have become vessels for the promotion of pornography.

One cannot visit the news stands a day and escape naked, sexually provocative pictures “flashed” boldly and colourfully on the front pages of many newspapers. The pictures include a male supposedly having sex with an animal; two ladies or guys supposedly enjoying sex; a supposed man of God washing the private part of somebody’s wife on the instructions of the “holy ghost”.

It is true that the media has the responsibility to expose the evil things going on in society. But, it is now clear that for the sake of commercial advantage, many of them concentrate on delving pruriently into the private affairs of people.

Oh Ghanaians! What has bewildered us? Unfortunately, but interestingly, the papers that are promoting pornography on daily basis are among the most patronized. They are bought by all classes of people—the old and young; Christian/Moslem believers and the non-believers; pastors and congregants; those above 18 years and those below.

What does that mean? It means the media is only a reflection of the level of moral decay that has been allowed to permeate every facet of our national life. Oh yes, pornography has been given a stamp of state approval.

If this was not the case, how could MC’s at state functions, including National Prayer Week Church Service, be allowed to dress in attires that expose their breast to the profane gazes of the entire nation, including Men of God in charge of prestigious religious institutions? Oh whither mother Ghana!

And that is why the youth, including those in basic schools who are supposed to be seen as innocent are all caught up in deep sexual debauchery that is gradually ruining their development in all aspects, and gradually spelling the “doom” of the nation.

Oh yes! It is spelling the doom of the nation because it is even more rampant in the Church, where so-called Men of God lack the moral courage to speak against, for the sake of their pockets and economic wellbeing.

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the right things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place”(Revelation 2:4-5).

That is God’s message for all of us. We should not continue to witness this kind of obscenity in a country that wants to be seen as a Christian nation. We need to seek ways to restore the nation to its glorious past where people felt ashamed to be associated with morally debauched lifestyles.

Apostle considers it unfathomable the pride the National Media Commission takes in confirming the fact that it indeed remains a toothless bulldog. This is very, very unfortunate when one considers the fact that the Commission is made up highly responsible people who occupy places of prominence in the Ghanaian society.

It is true that the papers are in business to make profit; it is true that they offer employment for people; it is also true that they are producing to meet the demands of the market; again, it is a fact that many Ghanaians of all classes have an insatiable taste for reading pornographic materials.

But does that mean the NMC should blatantly shirk its responsibility and allow the media to spearhead the moral corruption of the Ghanaian society. Certainly no! You cannot continue to fail the nation because you are working with a portion of our scanty resources.

I know it is difficult to bring about change in a society made up of stiff-necked people who stand opposed to everything, whether positive or otherwise. But that does not offer you a tangible reason to neglect your duty of applying the rules to the core.

A couple of years ago, the nation witnessed for a brief while an attempt to rid the news stand of pornographic materials. That was a bold, commendable effort, but as usual with our society, the exercise fizzled into “nothingness”.

We need to go back to the drawing board and find out what went wrong, develop appropriate measures and find the wherewithal to implement them for the good of our fast-decaying society. Insanity, they say, is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results. Let’s show the determination to crack the whip and we will be contributing to the forward march of our society.

BY Kwabena Amankwah Former TESCON-UCC Secretary