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Opinions of Friday, 4 January 2013

Columnist: Avorkliyah, Selorm Kordzo-Aheto

Rented Media and Ashawo Platforms

Dear fellow Ghanaians,

After stuffing his possibly distended tummy with whatever it is the
proceeds of his allegedly one-sided newspaper could afford him, Alhaji
Bature of the Al-Hajj newspaper apparently went hunting and pecking on
his keyboard, the entrails of a vision he had about ex-Prez Kufour
advising Nana Addo to give up on his decision to go to the very Supreme
Court of the land with his accusation of a rigged ballot. The voices in
his head were "well-placed" sources and one of them even had a "deep
throat". So it was all apparently not just a conjecture of his perhaps
deluded party-propagandist mind but rather hard truth that was worth
carrying on all media, including our very own Ghanaweb.

My first paragraph is deliberately verbose with "neutralizers" because,
just like the infamous Alhaji, I am embellishing in my case a half
truth, in his case a null truth, in a way that allows me to say
something without saying anything. Unlike mine which will be confined to
the opinion sections, Alhaji's mealtime musings were carried all over as
news. News that had a lot of NPP fans and toadies wondering if their
very top-crop leaders were having misgivings about Nana going to court.
But some were clued-on and immediately they started throwing some well
deserved and some not so deserved foul language at the Alhaji in their
comments that poured all over like a bad rash on the webpage of the
"news" article.

As if it is not enough journalism in Ghana has been stripped of its
professionalism undergarments with the advent of openly-aligned
newspapers and media houses that see things only in a kaleidoscope of
party colours, we now have the trusted few that are left being reduced
to conduits for this one-sided legion of penmen. Unless you have your
thinking cap on ready to filter whatever it is you are reading, you
could well be reading downright fiction that has been lent the good name
of some esteemed media house and paraded everywhere as news. For in the
case of the Alhaji and the well-placed and deep-throat sources he spoke
to, the spokesperson for ex-Prez Kufour, a real human being, and not a
figment of anyone's imagination, soon followed with a complete denial of
the Alhaji's assertions.

Not long before that, in the foreboding hailstorm of the NPP's refusal
to concede defeat to Prez Mahama citing electoral irregularities, with
palpable tension all over the nation, and other notable
news houses carried an unverified "news" story that had the potential to
exacerbate the already inflamed tensions to a breaking point. It was
about the police invading an office the NPP was supposedly keeping their
computers and Makola calculators used for collating and counting votes.
Of course it didn't take long for the PR of the police to issue a
statement denying the occurrence of the incident.

Here's what, forget the halfwit who concocted the story at home.
Question the professional who knowing very well his medium will
potentially reach thousands or perhaps millions of people, without even
as much as a Class 1 verification, put the story in the public fray
tsakaa like that. The most infuriating part is that there was not even
an apology to readers or anything remotely sounding like a retraction
after the police followed suit with their denial of the incident. Seeing
that they carried the police denial story as well, I suppose in the deep
abyss of their bungling minds, they thought they had met what they
believe is the standard expected of the fourth estate of the realm. More
to the point, I think they don't quite appreciate what the consequences
of their actions are.

I can offer you countless stories that were put up on the web during the
immediate aftermath of the elections. Anyone with half the training
these our so-called journalists have would have thought it was necessary
to be a little more circumspect about what is put out there. I suppose
they will all deny any intention of inciting unrest in the nation but
their carelessness made them tools in the hands of unpatriotic
party-propagandist yobbos who use their platforms like the services of
the queens of the night. "Kofi killed Ama" gets published today and
tomorrow it is rather "Kofi Kissed Ama" that gets published; no one is
at fault for the lie told yesterday and the almighty Ghana Media
Commission rolls over and yawns in its supervision slumber.

As for the openly-aligned papers, the least said the better. Besides the
papers being only good for wrapping fish and kelewele, they all have
vocal editors who are insufferable know-it-alls that have opinions on
everything from Astrology to Zionism. The Wall Street Journal and the
New York Times are said to have party affiliations but not in the
glaring and unethical manner things are being done in Ghana.

This partisanship madness has wreaked serious fractures in our social
setup; it has robbed us of vocal citizenship (as everything is now NDC
and NPP); and now more than ever, it is wielding the dreadful tool that
could inflict even more damage: the media!


Selorm Kordzo-Aheto Avorkliyah

Asia Pacific