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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The media and social commentators


“People who do not know should be modest enough to admit that they do not know. They should not pontificate on what they do not know because freedom of speech goes

with saying what you know”—Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey.

It was past 7:00a.m on Monday, March 8 2010 and I was still in bed. I did not hear Kwame Sefa-Kayi or Fiifi Boafo’s voice blaring from the radio; neither did I hear Kojo Oppong Nkrumah nor Ekuaba Gyasi.
I was taken aback and I asked myself, “no newspaper review today?

I woke up, sat on the bed and wondered why. Then it dawned on me that it was a statutory holiday because Asomdwekrom’s birthday fell on a non-working day, Saturday.

Poor me! How could I have forgotten? That was why I was still in bed on a Monday morning in the first place. I couldn’t help laughing at myself for being so restless.

No newspaper review for one day and your nephew was having butterflies in his stomach.

The media is like the proverbial ‘santrofi’ bird to many Asomdwekromanians. We get mad at the way people use the media to malign others with impunity, yet we cannot help but applaud it for its information and entertainment value.

What a boring country Asomdwekrom would be if there was a media blackout for only one week – no newspaper publications, news reviews and other programmes on radio and television.

Yes, Asomdwekrom would be a very boring country!

Indeed, one of the features of our new-found democracy and freed airwaves is the proliferation of media houses.

At the last count, the Greater Nkrankrom Region alone could boast of about eight television stations, not forgetting the over 40 radio stations and newspapers, which are springing up like seeds on a fertilized land. As for the newspapers, I have even lost count.

As a result, the poor reader and listener are bombarded with all manner of stories under the guise of ‘informing and educating the public.’

For want of credible stories to splash on their front pages, some newspapers have resorted to sensationalism and fabrication of stories in order to sell their unattractive newspapers.

Truth, they say, needs no crutches. I do not need Baby Ansaba’s Trinidad and Tobago trip-induced confession to appreciate the fact that fabricated stories flood our airwaves everyday.

By their fruits, we shall know them, so says the Holy Scriptures. Have you forgotten so soon about Raymond Archer’s pitiable journalism?

No sooner had he denied that he was a disgrace to the inky fraternity than a competent court of this great land found him guilty of deliberately peddling falsehood about one of the ministers in the erstwhile Osono government.

Satan, who we all blaming for our iniquities, has a very large following. Even followers of the beleaguered pastor, Jesus One-Touch are shouting from the rooftop that their leader is innocent. So do not blink an eye when you hear some people calling Raymond a hero.

Tell me, is this what we call freedom of speech?

A newspaper publishes a fabricated story in order to soil the image of perceived political opponents and not more than 2 percent of the populace read about it with about 98 percent left in the dark.

But a radio station spreads the mendacious story to the other 98 percent under the guise of newspaper review and goes a step further to empanel politicians and some irresponsible and not-too-brilliant persons, who parade as social commentators, to air their views on the subject.

The panel inflicts its ignorance on the unsuspecting listener, and the public also calls in to muddy the waters by raining invectives on others.

At the end of the day, we pat one another on the back, deluding ourselves that we are deepening our democracy.

Please is this what we call freedom of speech?

As for the presenters, they become lords of all and no one dares stand in their way immediately they hold the microphone and slant stories to please their political masters. They claim to be neutral than the word itself.

But wait for their party to win power and you will see their true colours. They are made deputy ministers of state to continue what they do best by covering the bad deeds of their political masters to peddle mendacious stories about their opponents.

Did I hear you say I should mention a name? Okay I will. Does James Agyenim Boateng ring a bell?

Abusuapanin, who do we think we are deceiving? It is certainly no one but ourselves. We need not be reminded that it took an unsubstantiated allegation by a mischievous journalist to set Rwanda ablaze.

By the by, the ‘Big-15’ has returned from Singapore and most Asomdwekromanians seem not to know whether the work on the FPSO vessel is progressing steadily. It was an unnecessary trip and a waste of the country’s limited resources, if you ask me.

Nevertheless, I will be more than grateful if next time my name was added to the list. Who knows, the jolly ride and the ‘nokofio’ aka per diem might make me have a change of heart and become an attack-dog; sorry, social commentator I mean.

After all, are we all not mealy-mouthed ‘konkonsafo’?

Have a blessed week!

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