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Ghanaian Media and the Coming Armageddon (Part I)   
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I think that I should try to write a book titled “Media, Democracy and the Impending Doom in Ghana.” Because, if any group of people will plunge Ghana into chaos and mayhem that will make the Rwandan genocide look like child’s play, it is the media.

But before I come to that, I think that we should stop the interminable issuance of frequencies for the setting up of radio stations. To have a situation where practically every major town in Ghana has a radio station is insane. This is the only place on earth where that is the case. Ask yourself how these radio stations hope to make profit and plough back the investments that they have made in establishing these radio stations.

The overwhelming majority of these stations do not pay their workers a salary. So how do these workers live?

They become mercenaries, especially so, mercenaries for politicians and political parties. Secondly very few of the people who work in radio stations across the country have ever had any training in journalism. Indeed, with the proliferation of vernacular radio stations, you don’t even need to have been to school to be called a journalist.

If this is not dangerous for the survival of our democracy, I don’t what is. I thought that the Minister of Communications, Hon. Ursula Owusu was in the right when she got the National Communication Authority (NCA) to do an audit of radio stations across the country. I was however disappointed in the so called “middle class,” ‘think-tanks” and “neutrals” fraternity who joined these radio stations in virtually blackmailing the government to backtrack on the decision to cancel the licenses of defaulting stations.

Again which country on earth do you find that 90 percent of radio content is partisan politics 24/7? This is the only country on earth where we are campaigning 12 months every year, without regard to election or non-election years.

If the chiefs and religious leaders don’t speak up for us to fashion a ‘political season’ as against ‘non-political seasons,’ we shall wake up one of these days to a major conflagration whose fires cannot be doused by the Atlantic Ocean. Now, we have agreed that no document is sacrosanct anymore? Where on earth do you find that there are no ‘classified’ versus ‘declassified’ documents? Now, the primary purpose for which journalists go on assignments or interview political leaders is so that they can misquote them or even put words in their mouths to demonise them and make them feel bad or worse still excite public anger against them.

Just yesterday, starrfmonline posted a banner headline story that suggested that the Ministry of Health contradicted the Vice President, Dr. Bawumia on the plan to recruit 10,000 health personnel under the Nation Builders programme.

After opening up Dr. Bawumia for insults and ridicule, they simply pulled down the story without the courtesy of an apology. The other day adomfmonline, joyfmonline and ghanaweb purported to quote the Minister of Information, Hon. Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid as saying that Ghana will receive 19 billion dollars from China for infrastructure projects in June. It turns out that the Information Minister didn’t mention the figure 19 in the entire two-hour interview.

When he issued a rejoinder, these mercenaries masquerading as journalists simply published his rejoinder without the courtesy of an apology. Worse still, days later, pulse.com published the discredited story whose rejoinder had since been published as if it was a fresh story.

Journalists actually write their opinions into stories and this is okay? It is not okay and somebody has to speak up. Well, I have chosen to write about it. I wrote a piece about the irresponsible attitude of the media on the so called call by Prof.

Frempong for a modernization of the methods for calling Muslim faithful to prayer. So I won’t labour that point any further. Suffice it to say, that for that matter to have become the central issue from the nearly two-hour presentation that Prof.

Frempong Boateng made that day tells of a sick society. We were not interested in the central issues that were raised about how science and technology can drive development? We were interested in a suggestion about azan? Goodness! And now, mainstream media actually picks stories from fake websites and proceed to make them an issue. As the Rasta man will say, “what a sin thing.”

People don’t like long essays, so I won’t write a long essay. But I made a promise not to let my pen stay in its holder anymore. As they say these days, “this nonsense must stop!” I shall come back on the issue of “know-all” Presidents and Vice Presidents of think tanks. This is the only place on earth where somebody knows every subject from archaeology to zoology. Indeed, he doesn’t just know every subject, he is an expert in every subject and radio stations acknowledge him as such. So he is called upon to comment on every subject under the sun. Herrr! Kaman how?

I shall be back. It is me again.

Source: Abdul-Razak Ishaq/[email protected]

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