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13.05.2021 Feature Article

“Media Prejudice against Government: the case of Caleb Kudah and the MASLOC Vehicles”

“Media Prejudice against Government: the case of Caleb Kudah and the MASLOC Vehicles”
LISTEN MAY 13, 2021

“...I’m happy to hear they’re no longer there. I’d be happier to confirm WHEN GIVEN ACCESS TO THE SECURITY ZONE where I saw them earlier” {emphasis mine} were the sober words of Caleb Kudah when his attention was drawn by Evron Hughes to a clarification published by Afia Akoto (Deputy CEO of MASLOC) on an earlier post made by Caleb on Facebook.

Caleb, a journalist with Citi TV had earlier in a post on Facebook showed images of cars he claimed were allowed to waste by Government instead of putting them to good use. This was at the height of the FixTheCountry online campaign and his post sought to portray Government as a major culprit to the “broken” system hence a justification for their FixTheCountry campaign. What was unknown to several followers of Caleb before the clarification from Madam Afia was that the images he posted were taken by him about 2 years earlier.

And so for a journalist who calls for the highest standard of Governance and works for a reputable media outlet like Citi TV, what could have been the real motive of reposting images taken 2 years earlier without recent follow ups just to create the impression that the situation remained unchanged? Prudent journalistic standards and practice would have necessitated Caleb to verify whether those vehicles he took pictures of two years earlier were still left to rot by the state agencies before publishing his post.

A failure to verify before publishing should have been accompanied by the date and time he took the picture to inform his followers that the images are not recent and may not be the real situation currently. Unfortunately, Caleb who was one of the loudest in the FixTheCountry campaign was obviously carried away by a bad prejudice he had against the authorities and in the midst of the social media protests he sought to exacerbate the plight of the Government through this unprofessional conduct. Even though he subsequently withdrew his post, it still remained a propaganda vehicle for several opponents of the Government.

But what is more striking and relevant under the current circumstances was his admission that the place he took the images was a “security zone” and that he may need to be “given access” to the place for him to verify whether the vehicles were still there or not. So after this acknowledgment of the need for “access”, a key question is what was his motive of going to the site to take pictures or videos without the “access” he acknowledged was necessary?

Your guess is as good as mine. In a country where every citizen is a righteous person except the politician in Government and where every ally or defender of Government is seen as a bootlicker paid 700 cedis a month, any form unprofessional propaganda/mediocrity against Government is unfortunately celebrated. With the revelation by former CEO of MASLOC Dr. Stephen Amoah that a little less than 10% of the said vehicles where not distributed because they had problems, Caleb’s unprofessional and botched attempt to video the security zone would have been widely propagated if those vehicles were captured. No body would have asked for details and nobody will accept any explanation from Government as to why there are some vehicles parked after claims of distribution. The conclusion would have been simple: the system is broken and Government is not willing to fix it.

Is that the kind of journalism we want? A journalism that feeds on prejudice and serves as fuel for propaganda instead of solving the problem? Was that the best way a journalist like Caleb should have adopted for verifying if indeed he had good intentions? How difficult would it be for him to walk with his team of journalists to the MASLOC office to request for a list of the recipients of the said vehicles that were distributed and the details of such? And then proceed to publish what information he has been given or denied so that the public can judge?

He wouldn’t because his prejudiced mind knows the society we live in is politically polarized and Government is presently at the receiving end. He knows no one especially those with prejudiced minds like him pays attention to details and critical matters when it has to do with the rights of Government and its appointees. And with the presence of the opposition, anything against Government will be widely welcomed and propagated more than Caleb on his own as a journalist can do.

It is therefore not surprising that some including senior journalists and lawyers who have carved a niche for themselves in the society and followed by several people, but unfortunately want to be seen as critiquing Government, are all out ignoring their colleague’s unprofessionalism and instead defending him. Even with admissions by Caleb that he needed clearance to take the pictures/videos, one of the journalists is still out there defending his action claiming he did no wrong. He even attempted teaching Caleb’s employees (Citi TV) journalistic principles claiming they betrayed Caleb. So how can we progress with this kind of prejudiced journalism?

I am sure by now some may think I am defending the actions of the National security/Government especially the reports of physical abuse on Caleb. Far from that. I unequivocally condemn the physical abuse on Caleb if true. In fact knowing the mischievous agenda of journalists like Caleb to make the Government look very unpopular and show the “power of the press”, I would have wished that there was no confrontation. I believe strongly that even if he was allowed to share the videos or pictures, his propaganda would have “fallen flat” and exposed just as his original post on the pictures was exposed. But the fact remains that as we criticize the National security, we need to be very worried about the kind of prejudiced journalism that is gradually becoming the norm in the mainstream media.

Thanks to the President of the Ghana Journalist Association Mr. Affail Monney who in criticizing the alleged brutalities of the security personnel on Caleb didn’t mince words in stating the erroneous strategy he employed in this matter. He further stated how Caleb’s actions were against the ethics and regulations of the association.

The goal of journalism is to provide citizens with the accurate information they require to make the best possible decisions about their lives, communities and governments. This purpose will, thus, be defeated and undermined with a prejudiced media that sets out to destroy people and governments with unverified or half baked information. The danger is that it leads to a society in which citizens are misinformed instead of informed leading to decisions that are not based on the facts. And with how fake news spreads like infernos these days, this type of journalism becomes a harm to the society instead of being a conduit for development and progress.

Caleb’s unprofessional actions and the unfortunate brutalities by the security if proven to be true is a wake up call to all of us to realize that all forms of unprofessionalism whether from citizens, journalists, security officers or government appointees is a threat to our peaceful coexistence. All unprofessional conducts and not only those done by public officials should be abhorred and criticized in the strongest terms. This will be one of surest ways to building a healthy and tolerant society in which members of the community work hand in hand to better the lives of people and the society.

Thank you

Written by:

Dr. Issah Imoro

( [email protected] )

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Issah Imoro (OD)

Student, Master of Science in Optometry (Orthoptics and Padiatric Optometry)

University of South-Eastern Norway

Kongsberg

Norway

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