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April 14, 2010 | News

Movie industry and media: Instruments of moral corruption in Ghana

Technology, modernity and democracy are gradually killing morality. People of today, including future leaders, are gradually losing their sense of dignity through obscene materials. Institutions of entertainment and sources of information to the public are regularly turning into instruments of moral corruption.

Culture and moral conduct in Ghana are progressively becoming an illusion, as people are no more prepared to practice it, due to so-called sex education and people extending their horizons, in terms of sex education, especially among the media and movie makers.

Obscenity
According to Wikipedia, an obscenity is that which offends the prevalent sexual morality of the time, which is a profanity, or is otherwise taboo, indecent, abhorrent, or disgusting, or is especially inauspicious and ill-omened.

The definition of what exactly constitutes an obscenity differs from culture to culture, between communities within a single culture, and also between individuals within those communities. Many cultures have produced laws to define what is considered to be obscene, and censorship is often used to try to suppress or control materials that are obscene under these definitions - usually including, but not limited to, pornographic material. As such, censorship restricts freedom of expression, and crafting a legal definition of obscenity presents a civil liberties issue.

As obscenity differs from culture to culture, Ghanaians should not think they can live and dress the way people from the western world do.

The media should not be airing programmes like the media and movie makers of the western world do. Movie makers should not produce motion pictures like movies in the western world, as the culture of Ghana is totally different from that of the western world. As the act of obscenity differs from culture to culture, one need not dress like one is from the western world in the Ghanaian community, and claim it to be a normal way of dressing, as in the Ghanaian community one will notice an obscene way of dressing once he or she sees it.

Obscenity and Ghanaian culture
Morality and maintenance of dignity has always been the hallmark of many Ghanaians. However, as modernity is rapidly creeping into the societies of the country, people are as well losing their sense of morality. Gone were the days when it was an unacceptable for a person to expose certain private parts of his or her body in public, as it was meant for the partner of the person in question only. Indiscriminate sexual activities were an offence, since it was meant to be sacred and made by nature for married people. Unmarried people who involve themselves in indiscriminate sexual activities are usually punished by traditional rulers of that community.

Sexual chastity among the people, especially the youth, was something that people of the community took pride in, as it was believed that the gods of the land sometimes take delight in it, and bless the land. The importance of chastity indicates the reason why the puberty rite is one of the most cherished ceremonies in our various communities. It makes the female youth keep themselves, so as to showcase it during the puberty rites ceremony, in order to give them the likelihood of getting a good suitor. They were of the notion that a woman, who is able to maintain her virginity, is rewarded by marriage.

Things have changed now, as a virgin, even at 16, is a mockery to colleagues, so the emergence of education and civilisation have made way for sex education to enlighten the youth to be more vigilant about sex, even at the primary level of their education, which is a good thing.

It is always the desire of countries in the African continent, including Ghana, to be like the developed world. People in Africa always try their best to copy them (those in the developed world) so as to live just like them. This attitude has led people to be blinded by the bad part of the developed world's culture, forgetting that the culture of Ghana is way different from them.

Each passing day, many people in Ghana copy blindly the way of life of the western world, in terms of dressing, whereby the breasts, stomach, thigh and some part of the buttocks are exposed, all in the name of fashion. Many forget that the definition of what exactly constitutes an obscene situation differs from culture to culture, between communities within a single culture, and also between individuals within those communities, and that even though the western world might see it as a normal way of dressing, the Ghanaian community would consider it obscene.

Obscenity and Ghanaian movies
In the process of producing modern movies, directors and producers in Ghana seem to be forgetting the moral traits in the Ghanaian culture and communities. It is sad that movies, which are supposed to serve as lessons, are now ridiculing the morality kept by our forefathers years ago. All over the country people get excited watching these movies to get them abreast with existing sexual immorality of the time. Directors and producers, all in the name of portraying affection of love in a movie, produce motion pictures which in the Ghanaian community can to be considered pornography, considering our culture and norms.

It was very surprising to note that in one of the latest Ghanaian movies no decent clothes were worn in most of the scenes. The main attires worn were braziers and hot pants, which expose the breasts and some part of the buttocks of these actresses - that is they were almost naked - no wonder people call the movie 'brazier movie.'

Ghanaian actors and actress accept to be naked when asked by directors, and is it over-ambition, if one may ask? Nudity in Ghanaian movies off late is in scenes where even viewers see as not necessary. The urge for people to get pleasure from issues of sex has given markets to these movies in the Ghana. People purchase every copy of these movies, and only have in mind the intensity of the obscene scenes than the moral lessons in the movie.

Obscenity and Ghanaian media
The media tops it all in terms of obscenity in the Ghanaian society. Apart from some radio station, noted for talking about obscene and sex issues irrationally, some tabloids in the country are gradually corrupting the morals and decency of some people in Ghana. Some tabloids, all in the name of educating and keeping people abreast about the sex lives of some people in the country, tend to corrupt the morals of the people.

Not one day passes without seeing people crowded at a newsstand. But as if they are trying to be informative about the important news and events going on in the country, they just stand there and comment about nude pictures they see. Sex education is important, as the country is trying to prevent all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases, but if sex education is important and necessary in the Ghanaian community, must it be through that way and in the open? Considering someone who can't read, there is the probability of the one trying to practice what he or she has seen at the newsstand. Children below the legal age, due to curiosity, might even be tempted to practice these things.

Conclusion
The morality of the people is at stake, if democracy, technology, and fashion go that far, then these three stands have not done well enough. People should not take advantage of these three stands and corrupt the morality of society.

The Ghana Actors Guild should stand firm and not let the image of the Ghanaian movie industry be dragged into the mud, as it is one industry that gives employment and entertainment. The National Media Commission (NMC) ought to take a step in preventing these tabloids from corrupting the moral of society. If they really want to be educative and informative, they should present things in a decent manner, and not through corruptible obscene and nude pictures.

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