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Opinions of Sunday, 19 September 2010

Columnist: Amankwah, Kwabena

Vacancies: Decency Wanted By Ghana Airwaves

By: Kwabena Amankwah

If I were appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Airwaves Limited, the first action I would take would involve axing all the staff and asking them to re-apply for consideration.

In this regard, I would have no option than to place this advertisement in the dailies –

VACANCIES: DECENCY WANTED FOR THE AIRWAVES.

This action would be part of my strategic plan to purge the company of all destructive human capital that are clearly not qualified for their jobs, and re-engage the qualified, or at least the trainable, ones to help salvage the sinking image of the company as a result of the unwholesome products being forced on its customers.

Ghana is indeed in great trouble, and I think all decent-minded and morally-clothed citizens should be worried about the extent to which our socio-political discourse is being contaminated, with all decency and decorum being thrown to the dogs.

Socio-political debates in our airwaves have now been reduced to outright insults and the use of abusive and indecent language, not to talk about the making of wild, vilifying unsubstantiated allegations about people. And one finds it difficult to understand the kind of legacy this present breed of politicians wants to leave for the next generation.

Now in Ghana , it is not about how analytical a socio-political commentator is, or how convincing he advances his argument. It is all about how loud one can shout, ostensibly to distract other discussants or, more importantly, how one can rain torrential insults on political opponents.

What makes the issue more disturbing is the fact that people in high positions of responsibility who are supposed to lead others in lessons of public decency have also joined the craze, with some even doing nastiest things.

Oh mother Ghana , what has gone wrong with your children? This has become the order of the day because we now live in a country where the ability to shout and insult appears to have become a very important consideration in electing or appointing people to political positions. And that is why everybody wants to be heard on radio or seen on TV whether the capacity to do so is there or not.

For those who have already secured public positions, shouting loud and insulting political opponents is now seen as the surest way to safeguard one’s position. And that is why people like Kwadwo Twum Boafo and Prince Derrick Adjei can abandon their paid jobs at the Free Zones Board and National Youth Council respectively to go and sit in the studios of Asempa FM from 2:30p.m to 6:00p.m just to insult political opponents and cast aspersions on people who are not ready to follow their line of thinking.

Unfortunately, we live in a country where many people erroneously think that whoever is heard speaking on radio or TV is a sensible and knowledgeable person. That is why some people have all of a sudden become “heroes” in the eyes of the people because of their appearance on radio or TV discussion programmes.

And how funny, some of these so-called socio-political commentators think they are repository of all knowledge, even though they are constantly infesting innocent people with their stark ignorance about subjects that are brought up for discussion.

It is only in Ghana where people who have never heard about Yaw Owusu Asante or “Zomatic Ideas” would pretend to be mightier than Adams Smith when economic issues are being discussed. Oh yes, if it was not in Ghana , where on earth would you find people who spent four years in the University without anything to show for their stay there pretending to be more than Emeritus Professors?

Why can’t these pretenders learn from people like Kwaku Baako Jnr who always, out of honesty, admits the handicap he suffers when it comes to economics, but choose to portray to the whole world that they are authorities over all fields of knowledge?

Oh yes, some of these people pontificate about every issue, and speak as if they were the only custodians of wisdom, and that everybody must swallow whatever they say hook, line and sinker. Indeed, some of them even think that the nation would do far, far better if things were done according to their whims and caprices. Or better still, they would even want Governments to run the affairs of the nation on their personal principles or ideologies.

We now certainly find ourselves in this messy situation in view of the proliferation of radio stations. This in itself is not bad because the multiplicity of radio stations is good for our democracy since it helps to deepen grassroots involvement in the politics and governance of the nation.

The problem often has to do with the caliber of people who sit behind the microphones, and how they allow themselves to be manipulated to do the biddings of others. How can we have quality discourse in our airwaves if discussions are moderated by people who could not even get Credit in their GCE O’Levels? Isn’t it sad that we have radio hosts in this nation who can pose questions like, “Did you SAID that?” “Didn’t you WENT there?”

And, as if they don’t have scruples, some of these people would always go the extra mile to run down people who have toiled and moiled to attain the current status they occupy in society, just for their bread to be well buttered by the powers that be.

It is therefore not surprising that these people combine sheer mischief with stark ignorance, and further spice it with their deep academic/professional inadequacies, to create the platform for people just to insult their political opponents, or tarnish the hard-won reputation of people for no justifiable reasons.

I wonder why some of these radio hosts cannot learn from their colleagues like Kwame Sefa Kayi of Peace FM Kokrooko fame who now occupies a highly respectable place in radio journalism in the country in view of his no-nonsense attitude towards people who would want to use his programme to insult others or engage in indecency.

Oh such is the world! While hosts like Sefa Kayi are determined to prevent the use of insults and abusive language on their shows, others rather make deliberate efforts to create the platform for this to occur, only to pretend to be concerned and unhappy about the situation.

That is why the airwaves are now contaminated and polluted with excessively foul and stinking language emanating from the mouths of people who are expected to show good examples in public decency for others to follow.

Oh mother Ghana , what has gone wrong with your sons and daughters? What are the diseases that have afflicted your children? Would they ever be cured of these maladies? Is this the kind of nation your founding fathers envisaged for your children? Where are the decent-minded people? And what are they doing about the situation?

Kwabena Amankwah is a freelance journalist, member of E/R NPP Communication Committee and former TESCON-UCC Secretary. amaskwabena@yahoo.co. 0244-217504.