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Opinions of Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

We welcome President's suggestion, but


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The trading of insults on our airwaves has become the bile of our democracy that we would all like to shed off quickly.

Embracing democracy has enabled diverse views to be expressed on various issues, but, unfortunately, people have used that platform provided to utter unprintable words against one another in debates.

Whenever insults are traded, respect and decorum, which are values we cherish, are thrown out through the window.

Our culture frowns on any form of insult hurled at a leader or elder, either impliedly or directly.

Unfortunately, that is what has become the practice now in the country, especially on our airwaves where the youth and the elderly trade insults as if they were engaged in a competition.

This sad spectacle has gradually eroded the element of respect that is inculcated in our youth as they grow up.

It is in view of this worrying trend that the Daily Graphic supports President John Mahama’s call on religious organisations to devote time to speak against the insults that have taken over public discourse.

The President said the impunity with which some people disrespected and rained insults on their leaders and the elderly was unGhanaian.

Yet, what we find unacceptable is the fact that anytime there has been a hue and cry over the insults traded in public discourse, it is the same politicians who have gone back to use uncharitable words against people they consider their opponents.

We believe that it is time we all engaged in issue-based debates and discussions on the myriad of challenges facing the country.

There is the major issue of power crisis and what is being done about it, shoddy work done on roads that results in potholes in no time, people cutting corners to rip off the nation, healthcare issues, educational challenges, workers’ welfare and other issues that need urgent solutions.

People who opt to discuss such issues should apprise themselves of the facts on them before commenting on them.

They should also proffer solutions to the challenges and direct them at the right quarters.

We urge that panel discussions on radio and television or at public fora must always involve only those who are qualified to speak on those issues.

What we realise is that many a time party members who are not well-informed on issues are included in discussions of subjects they know next to nothing about. In such instances, insults are used by those representatives as a cover up for their ignorance and inability to debate intelligently.

We are not saying members of political parties cannot discuss national issues. All of them have very knowledgeable members who can offer very bright suggestions in public discourse. However, what we find is that most of them have turned into experts on all issues, whereas they are not.

They have also become blinded by party loyalty, instead of being patriotic to defend the cause of Ghana.

We urge not only religious organisations to heed the President’s call but also chiefs, opinion leaders, youth leaders, leaders of organisations, parents and the leadership of the political parties to encourage their followers to imbibe our cherished culture of respect for the elderly and for one another.

If we are able to do that successfully as a people, there will be no need to insult a fellow debater on an issue just to make a point.

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