General News of Sunday, 28 August 2016
Serial callers on radio talk shows are becoming powerful and gradually setting agenda for national discourse, the EC chairperson Mrs. Charlotte Osei has warned.
She said the development is dangerous and has admonished the media to immediately arrest the situation before it gets out of hand.
“Currently, however, the media seem to have ceded its power to set the national agenda to the politicians and their paid serial callers,” Mrs Osei lamented.
However, she was quick to add that “it may not be entirely wrong to hand the microphone to newspaper columnists and persons with useful contributions to make, it is dangerous to open the media space to vicious attackers of dissenting views and people who are skilled in insulting and undermining public persons and institutions.”
“Such actions contribute in no way to strengthen our political culture or our democracy… the power you have as journalists can’t be underestimated… how you exercise this power can make or break this nation. Indeed, it has already broken many decent patriotic Ghanaians who ventured into politics or chose to serve this nation to the best of their abilities in public service,” Mrs Osei remarked.
She added: “In our more recent history we have allowed serial callers and political actors to insult all and sundry including foreign diplomats, religious leaders and traditional rulers. As a nation we seem to have sacrificed our national values, cultural attributes and our respect for others on the altar of multi-party politics using the vehicle of the free press.
“In my view, we have just one item to sacrifice. Our collective peace and national stability. The media has contributed greatly in getting us where we are, can the media please help us retrace our steps as a nation and take ourselves back from the brim,” Mrs Osei appealed at the 21st Awards Night of the Ghana Journalists Association Saturday.
Mrs Osei has therefore called on the media to focus on issues that will bring about development.
“Journalists are more powerful than passive conveyer belts – passing on any message at all to the listeners and viewers. We can’t afford a passive media. This is not what we fought for as a nation for decades… many committed journalists made huge personal sacrifices of their lives and personal liberties for the freedom we are enjoying today and this is the time to appreciate and reward those sacrifices by the show of a more responsible and patriotic media fraternity.
“The publication of one untrue and unchecked story about the electoral process, political process, a political party or presidential or parliamentary candidate may not only damage the individual or institution concerned, but may cause untold and unanticipated damage to this nation.”
Ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas won the GJA Journalist of the Year 2015. He took home Hyundai SUV plus a certificate and a plaque.