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Opinions of Monday, 31 May 2010

Columnist: Anderson, Frank Evans

The ignoble journalism of Ghana and our “Demo crazy”

As a very young man in preparatory school in the early 80s I had great deal of respect and admiration for the journalism profession, thanks to my late uncle’s loves for world news i.e. the BBC, cnn Deutsche Welle TV, Nbc and discovery channels.

I was simply overwhelmed by the planning, preparation and professional execution and presentation of stories aired on the Larry King show particularly how Mr. King himself showed great deal of knowledge and understanding for the topics he covered.

Undoubtedly, that had formed my perception and may have influenced my expectations from Ghanaian journalists and media houses.

Since the return to constitutional rule in 1993, the opposite can be said of Ghanaian journalism. I have had keen interest in politics and welcomed the springing up of private radio and television stations across the length and breath of Ghana.

The avalanche of private radio stations emerging these days seem to have eroded the foundation of our country built by our forbearers on the principles of morality, respect, hard work and dedication, honesty, the spirit of nationalism and patriotism. The alignment to political parties and interests by journalists and broadcasters has taken precedence over integrity and statesmanship. Politicians have managed to impart negatively on the conscience and standards of the journalistic institution.

Today, every single political discussion and talk show on our airwaves are centered on vile and foul languages, shouting, physical fighting and incitement, pitching of one political party and ideology against the other in as much as ideology is irrelevant in 21st century politics. Absolute disrespect and undermining of the very discerning listeners they try to attract.

Shamefully and pitifully, majority of the hosts are either inadequately educated or jerks and illiterates who could not even read a sentence correct, worse, the use of twi as lingua franca only exacerbate their plight coupled with the toothless nature of National Media Commission in bring sanity and decency to our airwaves.

Many hosts and producers, (majority of who are political) oblivious to their training and improvement needs are more inclined to focus on the manacles of segregation than the common values that unite us. I.e. Nana Addo v Alan, Chimpanzee, Greedy bastards, idiots, mediocre etc.

As I earlier stated on Ato Kwamena Dadzie’s blog, I am yet to see a TV or radio program that review latest scientific and technological inventions, electronic gadgets and how relevant and helpful business tool they can be, nor well produced documentaries on the rich and vast natural resources like wild life, water bodies, islands spread around us. The qualities of radio and television discussions inform the direction and quality of public opinion.

I may have been unfair to the few professionally trained ones who fortunately or unfortunately have been lured by better pay and career progression to the BBC or over shadowed by the unprofessional deeds of the majority. That alone is an indication that the good ones are either under paid or unappreciated by their bosses.

The momentous speech delivered by President Obama during his recent visit to Ghana couldn’t have said it any better; Africa does not need strong men but strong and working institutions and that includes journalism.

Improve, reform or perish

Frank Evans Anderson (UK)