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Opinions of Saturday, 9 August 2008

Columnist: Atta-Quayson, Alhassan

Professor, Stop Attacking Rawlings at the Expense of Ghana

I wish to express my deep sense of gratitude right at the outset to the New Patriotic Party Government for not meddling with the media during their tenure of office, but rather working very hard to ensure a pluralistic media. Notable among the steps taken in this regard is the repeal of the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws in 2001. However, it is worth noting immediately that the decision taken by the architects of the 1992 Constitution to allow for freedom of speech especially by making provisions for pluralistic media was not taken in vain. It was deliberate!

Although the Ghanaian media, relative to other sub-Saharan African countries has been quite free and fruitful, it has its own drawbacks. Notable among them are polarization of the media houses, inauthentic publications and personal attacks. The worse of it all regards a learned professor of no other field but English, Journalism and Creative Writing of a New York-based university. This is ironic and very unfortunate!

Whiles the Journalism Professor is expected to know better and contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the country, he maliciously and dishonestly attacks particular public figures for reasons known to no other person but himself!

The so-called Associate Professor in English, Journalism and Creative Writing deserves to write useful and meaningful articles not only to reflect his credentials but also to live up to his expectations. As the government struggles with an economy whose budget is ‘out of gear’ such a creative writing professor in English could not be more useful than helping identify “ways and means” to salvage the crushing economy.

The most unfortunate of this all is the Professor’s ‘apparent’ association with Nana Akuffo Addo, and by implication the New Patriotic Party. It is perplexing to note that whenever the Professor is writing his malicious articles he is again found associating himself with the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party. This he must desist with immediate effect in order not to disrepute Nana’s hard worn reputation.

Whereas some Professors spend their precious time conducting relevant and timely research at a mind-boggling pace to push their respective economies forward, (this he is very much aware of) my learned Professor in question continuously wastes his time tarnishing the image of a former president of our country and his allies at the expense of Ghana. This obviously raises questions regarding journalistic and creative writing attitudes he is imparting to students of his college!

A quick look at most of the feature articles posted on the ghanaweb by the so-called Associate Professor reveals that he continuously makes vacuous and asinine remarks about public figures. Students and youth like me who wish to draw inspiration from the learned Professor are at crossroads, frequently bewildered by his derogatory and cacophonous remarks about public figures.

When the former Deputy General-Secretary of the United Nations and a long standing Canadian diplomat Ms. Louise Frechette once remarked that free and independent media is the lifeblood of strong, functioning societies and a lifeline to progress itself, she was not making reference to media which promote ‘destructively’ creative writings like that of my learned Professor. She could rather be viewed as pointing to media which effectively and efficiently serve as watchdog of democracy, unveiling corruption and more importantly serving as a platform for exchange of ideas and debates for the purposes of socio-economic development.

It is to this that the attention of the Journalism Professor is being brought to so that he can change his writing attitude and perform a more responsible role in the society and live up to expectations, at least those that I have formed about him.

Alhassan Atta-Quayson, student of University of Ghana, Legon.