Charlatans As Journalists


Ever since the PNDC/NDC stormed Ghana’s political landscape, our values as a people have changed. Now there is no respect for the elderly and the authority of the land is denigrated by people who have nothing to show in life.

Like the National Media Commission (NMC) said about Onua TV/FM sometime ago, some other networks and social media platforms have become megaphones of war.

To such characters who are masquerading as media practitioners but are in actual fact propagandists of the opposition NDC, there is no limitation to media freedom. According to their actions, the contents they force down our throat everyday is protected by the freedom of speech legislations in our constitution. They must be told that there is nothing like absolute media freedom in our Fourth Republican Constitution.

Indeed Article 164 says, “the provisions of Articles 162 and 163 of this Constitution are subject to the laws that are reasonably required in the interest of national security, public order, public morality and the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons.”

Unfortunately, a few times that the NPP government had tried to correct the negative propaganda and plain insults by a section of the media, President Akufo-Addo is accused of being intolerant of divergent views. Some of our compatriots have carried their complaints to the corridors of international bodies screaming about the return of the culture of silence to Ghana.

We are not surprised at the fall in our ratings by ‘Reporters Without Borders’. Our situation in this election year is rather pathetic as the partisan media cares less about journalistic ethics.

The interest of such people is to smear their opponents in order to discredit them and make them unpopular. We have always made it clear that we do not have the right to dictate the editorial policies of any media house. But as professionals, detest unethical behaviour and we would resist any attempt to drag the name of journalism into the mud.

Sad to say that some journalists have become lazy and rather than look for credible content, they would behave like scavengers searching for half truths on social media. In some cases, these stories have not sourced but merely based on gossips or doctored videos and audios. We dare say that because some journalists have forgotten the most basic ethos of the profession that stipulates that when in doubt double cross check, and if you are still in doubt just spike the story.

Regrettably it is that kind of story that trends a lot not only on social but traditional media, with regulatory bodies such as the NMC and National Communications Authority (NCA) looking on helplessly.

If that was not the case how on earth can some individuals meet in conclave somewhere in Gonjaland to plot that fake news about President Akufo-Addo? These people told a lie that the President ordered the Yagbonwura to get up to greet him otherwise he was not going to do so. And when the Yagbonwura refused, the President left the durbar grounds after speaking for five minutes.

Some commentators run commentaries on the so-called incident describing the President in very disrespectful ways. The time has come for the NMC and the NCA and indeed the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to insist that we practice journalism with some level of decorum and responsibility. Otherwise, journalists should hold their peace when the government exposes our work to belong to yellow journalism that has no place in the media space.

The Gonjaland lies gained so much traction in the media last Tuesday, exposing our President, the soul of the land to public ridicule. Information is the oxygen of democracy and all of us have the responsibility to build an open and accountable governance system. Participatory democracy can be more functional with a vibrant media. That is why the media’s critical role in a democracy cannot be ignored. But certainly not the tyranny of the media.

Journalists have a crucial role to play in sustaining our democracy, peace, security and stability. We should therefore expose politicians who want to hide behind media freedom to cause mischief and undermine the authority of the state and its institutions. The agenda of these opponents of the government is to smear the Presidency and critical institutions such as the Electoral Commission and the Judiciary.