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Opinions of Saturday, 5 March 2016

Columnist: Newton-Offei, Justice Abeeku

The Media Should Wake-Up Because Ghana Is Not A Nation Of Riff-Rafts.

What I have noticed about the Ghanaian media and its practitioners is that, when the president or any top public official makes a statement on a matter, and portrays it as the fact, and others from the opposition present contrary argument, what the media practitioners, particularly hosts of political shows on radio/TV,do,is simply gather a panel of NPP and NDC, play audio tapes or profusely quote from both statements, and simply say "YOU HAVE LISTENED TO THE TAPES,WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS; I GIVE YOU 15MINUTES EACH";HON. NDC WILL GO FIRST AND YOUR TIME STARTS NOW".

The president presented the "state of the nation" last Thursday, and the usual trend of just playing the audio of the presentation and making it a topic of NDC/NPP shouting bouts has been the order of the day.
Yesterday, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the flagbearer and leader of the largest opposition political party in Africa, and most vibrant political tradition on earth, the great Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition, presented a contrary argument, with factually factual facts, as to why the president's presentation was riddled with massive dose of inaccurately inaccurate inaccuracies.
And when you have these two respectable citizens of the land presenting contrasting a picture as to how our nation is being governed, and resources used/misused, what is done by the media in civilized societies is that, they{media practitioners},critically study the two presentations, subject them to critical "COMPARE AND CONTRAST ANALYSIS”, isolate the inaccuracies and outright lies.

This then becomes the weapon for media practitioners with which representatives on their programmes are properly grilled, and those lying are fittingly exposed. As media houses serious with serious journalistic practice, they have well-functional research departments which delve into pertinent issues of national importance, where the chaff is clinically separated from the wheat.

But here in Ghana, the media airways, particularly the political programs, have been taken over by crass illiterates whose only claim to fame is delight in screaming headlines with absolutely no regard to facts and figures.

After Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s presentation yesterday on the "REAL STATE OF THE NATION”, the usual ear-piercing noise by these block-headed radio presenters has taken over the airwaves with relentlessly relentless relentlessness, without a shred of attention to detail. For example, a matter bordering on how the economy affecting the lives of over 27million Ghanaians is being discussed, and radio stations called on a character as Koku Anyidoho to partake in the discussion?

The media, which is touted, the world over, as the fourth estate of the real, gate-keepers of society and voice for the voiceless, is very much 'FEARED' in the civilized societies because they are always up to the task of holding every citizen, irrespective of socio-politico-economic standing in society, to accountably accountable account.
But in our case, the scenario is completely opposite: the media is scared-stiff of government/top public officials, the reason being that, over 99% of our media practitioners are on payroll of corrupt politicians so their hands are firmly tied behind their backs, when it comes to being critical.
Shockingly, I have heard hosts of Radio/TV programmes saying "Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has broken the laws of Ghana by presenting the real state of the nation, because, in their confused state of mind, “there cannot be two presidents at a time”; forgetting that, in the civilized democracies who have always been our reference points, immediately the president presents the state of the nation, the leading opposition party swiftly counter with their version.

Indeed, what a sitting-president presents can best be termed as STATE OF THE NATION heavily laced with propaganda irrelevance arising from total aloofness from reality because they enjoy all the comforts under the sun, with the ordinary Ghanaian taxpayer picking up the bills. On the other-hand, the sincere presentation through the lens of the opposition is what can best be termed as what is pertaining on the ground.

There are Radio/TV programmes where varied topics of national importance are discussed, either weekly or daily, but we have panelists who are appear on these programmes with permanently permanent permanence. These Mugabi-like panelists often confess to not being knowledgeable in matters being discussed, yet, they are still kept on the panel.

Ghana, undoubtedly, is a nation with abundant stock of fine brains in every aspect of academic endeavor, to be called upon to share light on matters of national importance. But the truth is, those with empty heads but can shout loudest, have taken over the media space and those with fine brains have been haunted into total oblivion with hail of insults whenever they have attempted expressing opinion.
The Ghanaian media should wake up to their professional duties and adhere to journalistic integrity because, Ghana is not a nation of riff-rafts and therefore foolish characters must not be allowed to hold sway when it comes to discussing matters of national importance.

Newton-Offei Justice Abeeku