Media Hubris, The Scary Alternative


One of the potent agents of devil in Ghana today is the media, known in the body politic as the Fourth Estate of the Realm.

Although the Fourth Estate and the President of its umbrella body the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GRA) do not draw from the Consolidated Fund, they were so referred from the days of yore because they have a specific place (the Press Gallery) in Parliament from where they reported from. Therefore, it was recognised that if the three arms of government; the Executive, the Legislature and Judiciary represent those arms in that order, then it is in order to make the media the fourth because of their crucial role in getting the three arms to account to the people.

So far and especially in the Fourth Republic, the media has acquitted itself creditably to promote the frontiers of media freedom and free speech and, thus, holding the feet of duty bearers to the fire of accountability.

There have been occasions when the people have expressed concerns about the recklessness of some media practitioners who in the exercise of this right think that the freedom and independence of the media is absolute.

It is not absolute as it is subject to the laws on public interest and safety, public morality, people’s reputation and national security and for which reason journalists must exercise the freedom with responsibility, not recklessly and with impunity.

Ghana under the Fourth Republic is a media-rich country and every day journalists, radio and TV presenters and newspapers give millions of people their voices to criticise or praise the government for its exercise of the conduct of public affairs.

We can only say bravo to all media practitioners including citizen journalists for their yeoman’s job albeit with room for improvement. While we salute our gallant journalists, we are equally worried about a certain trend of some journalists becoming willing tools to smear the reputation of hard working people in our society. This week one media house that orders itself of high professional standards has shown itself as a megaphone of the opposition political party to run down the Vice President, as it is becoming pretty obvious that notwithstanding the claim that he has nothing to offer, there is a groundswell of support for Dr. Bawumia since he “launched” his campaign to be President.

Such a media house has started playing the voices of Dr. Bawumia in an attempt to discredit him although other political figures like John Mahama failed to deliver when he was President. If it is their plan to use that pathway to engineer regime change in favour of the NDC, then their agenda will end in stillbirth.

We are not against media houses making it their agenda to make politicians accountable and promise to build bridges when there are no rivers. But this must be done in a responsible manner upholding the tenets of journalism to be free, fair and balanced.

It is not only media houses that are bent on engaging in propaganda as they have joined some men and women in academia and civil society groups as well as NDC to engage in misinformation, fake news and hate speech to incite the public against the NPP government.

One person who has gained notoriety for this is the National Communication Officer of the NDC who will lie through his teeth to paint the NDC as a credible alternative. Once again he has been exposed for referring to our Vice President as “Bawuliar” and gotten the media that have become megaphones of the NDC to buy into it. Now that it has turned out to be fake, what will Sammy Gyamfi and his journalist friends say to Dr. Bawumia?

We want to reiterate that we are not against the media and the public holding the government to account based on fact and figures. The media in the era of fact-check should refuse to be used by politicians, especially the NDC whose leader Mr John Mahama has not presented any credible alternative to the NPP government. It means the alternative is scary. We therefore advise the media to stay within the confines of media ethics in the discharge of their duties to help sustain our democracy on a continent of wars, disease and squalor.