Feature Article of Thursday, 12 January 2012

Columnist: Mensah, Nathaniel

No Show! Mr Senior Journalist Or Editor

“Journalists aren’t supposed to praise things. It’s a violation of work rules almost
as serious as buying drinks with our own money or absolving the CIA of something”
P.J O’Rourke
The infamous presidential forum for editors and senior journalists in the country by
and large is becoming a culture that could become a very meaningful practice within
the Ghanaian political landscape.

Three years down the streak, the interruption with senior journalists and editors by
the president have greatly improve over the years as without any doubt it help
strengthen the democratic tenets of the country.
Barely would a journalist be it senior or junior have the opportunity to pose daring
questions to a president more especially within our political system where
bureaucracy and autocratic leadership has become the order of the day coming in
handy with a lot of frustration.

Further more, presidents meeting with the press personally I think should be the
neck cracker to fortifying the accountability scenery of our state institutions of
which the executive arm of government fall.

Holding public officials accountable is very paramount to spiraling the sanctity of
governance at all levels as it put the system on its toes.
According to best practices, journalists have as part of their role in a state to
ensure checks and balances not withstanding their conventional role as the fourth
arm of the realm.
Are Ghanaian journalists losing focus of their basic mandate or it’s just a share
fantasy of glimmering in the title of senior journalist or editor?
One thing which has continually baffled me is whether the Ghanaian journalist is
conscious of what defines him as a journalist or it’s just a duty of serving as a
share political publicist.
The last time some journalists had the chance to interrupt with the president, the
outcome was a disaster with many Ghanaians criticizing not the people who asked the
questions but the nature and manner most of the questions were posed to the
president eliciting irrelevant answers as a result of irrelevant questions.
My wonder is whether these senior journalists continue to let the ordinary Ghanaian
down as a result of failure to do enough research or mere negligence. Is it proper
to conclude that what we are witnessing is a reflection of how they do their job as
watch dogs?
My beef is, if the media can let go of golden opportunities like the editors forum
to ask more reflective questions such as what the government is doing to alleviate
the many plights of Ghanaians like the recent fuel increase, the poor nature of
roads in my village, no portable water, schools under trees etc. but have chosen to
sing praises and timidly ignore the issues that worry the average Ghanaians, then
the future of independent press and press freedom is at a risk.
As it is now, the opportunity is gone. We can only hope and pray that tomorrow
present us with more of such editors forum with less of such errors from senior
The reality though is that many of such opportunities will present themselves in the
future but the onus lies with the press to prove they deserve it and actually merit