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Opinions of Friday, 6 August 2010

Columnist: Sidibe, Abdul

RE: Deals like STX break my heart

Deals like STX break my heart – Ato Kwamena Dadzie; A Rejoinder.

Joy FM’s news editor, Ato Kwamena Dadzie, finally broke his silence on the controversial STX on Sunday. His statement was, however, as illogical as the one that caused the government to charge him. Ato’s statement is simply an appeal to patriotism than addressing the core issues that got him in to trouble.

Whiles his rights to air whatever statement he views as news worthy should be defended by all who cherish democracy and freedom of the press. His refusal to release his sources to the law enforcement agencies on a matter that borders on criminality and threat to lives should be condemned by all.

Responsible journalists always consider public safety and security in their reportage. Threats to human life and security are not editorialized with the intension to paint authorities in bad light. Instead, authorities are informed and all information obtained handed over for investigations. There are several cases in the United States and Canada when information obtained from the media helped avert an ongoing criminal activity or solve criminal cases.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie’s decision on this particular case is wrong and should be regarded as such. He is not the hero of Ghanaian journalism, as his network is trying to portray him to be. Rather, he epitomizes all the ills of what has become of Ghana’s journalistic standards.

“This whole deal is going to end up like it did under the Kufuor administration where similar projects where embarked upon but eventually we learnt that some, if not most, of the housing units that were put up had gone to people affiliated to the NPP, and I think that is pathetic. But that is our country and it breaks my heart,” Ato Kwamena told his interviewer. These kinds of illogical statements illustrate further the problems of Ghana’s journalist. It demonstrates the kind of arrogance in Ghana’s media. The fact that you have access to the means of broadcasting does not mean you spew and speculate on every subject, and sometimes we need to give our elected officials the benefit of the doubt. Ato Kwamena’s fallacy of hasty generalization is pretty obvious in this case. He is caving an image for the NDC out of the shadows of the NPP.

Another problem with the likes of Ato Kwamena is their contempt for authority and unapologetic posture even when they are clearly wrong. Responsible journalist never hesitates to apologise and retract their stories when it becomes apparent they are wrong. A journalist admitting mistakes and apologising is not sign of weakness. On contrary, it strengthens and humanizes whatever network they represent.

Ato Kwamena Dadzie’s interview did not answer any of the questions that needed to be answered in his case. His audience deserve to know why he decided not to disclose his sources to authorities. He also needs to state whether he still stand by the broadcast that puts him into trouble. Absent these explanations, appeal to patriotism will hardly win him any sympathy from his discerning listeners.