I am always in two minds about the integrity of the Ghana media. Put it this way, the media in any country are assumed to be the fourth arm of government, although not constitutionally bestowed with that title, I should think. However, the role they play can make or break a government.
The media are to inform the public on current issues going on in the country and the world. They are to disseminate information about their government policies, programmes and public issues as they become available to them either through official avenues or through their own investigative efforts to let the public be abreast with the issues prevailing in the country or the world.
While informing the public, they must also always, if possible, correct any public misconceptions about issues of which the media may be more knowledgeable about or hold the correct information. The media are not there to be the lapdog of any government or powerful individual or institutions but to report and criticize as and when the occasion demands. Their criticisms must not be destructive but constructive, if they really want to see their country and people prosper.
The media through the performance of their professional duties, and being honestly responsible, can hold the government in check to do the right things for the country and the people almost all of the time.
Nevertheless, in Ghana, some media houses and journalists are not as responsible in their reportages as the ethics of their profession require of them. They are either pursuing their selfish intentions hence being stomach journalists, or they are cowards or not well-informed.
What should be the duty of a media house or a journalist in the following scenario?
A powerful Ashanti traditional overlord announces that the entirety of Ashanti land belongs to him with the chiefs occupying certain portions being merely caretakers to the lands in his behalf. He asserts authoritatively to the applause and admiration of a large audience that no chief or individual owns any land in Ashanti region but him.
The Ghana media, both electronic and print, reported the claim by this Ashanti overlord.
However, the writer of this publication, Rockson Adofo, being more knowledgeable about land ownership in Ghana in general and Ashanti region in particular, and knowing too well that the public statement issued by the Ashanti overlord, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is wrong, submitted a counterclaim article to his usual Ghana internet news portals, Modernghana.com, Ghanaweb.com and Breakingnewsgh.com, for publishing.
The quick rebuttal was meant to set the records straight to avoid any future citation of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s statement as an authority by whomever, to support their argument or claim when a subject on land ownership in Ashanti arises. However, not all three but one, Modernghana.com, let alone, the Ghana media that had carried Otumfuo’s story, did publish or disseminate my information that came along with attached evidential documents.
Why were the media too quick and happy to report Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s claim, as erroneous as it was, but intentionally failed to report that of Rockson Adofo? Does it not take two to tango? Is it not advised that one should always listen to the two or both sides of a story before drawing a conclusion?
Why would the media report that of Asantehene but deliberately refuse to publish or disseminate that of Rockson that came with credible, acceptable and permissible evidential documents?
Are the Ghana media not directly or indirectly helping to propagate false information by carrying Otumfuo’s story as well as helping to create or strengthen the hand of a monster? Can such a deplorable attitude by the Ghana media help to advance the aspirations by discerning Ghanaians to see our country developed, safe, and the fundamental human rights fully observed and enjoyed by every Ghanaian irrespective of their social standing in the Ghanaian society? I am afraid not!
By their total failure to report the counterclaim, are they not confirming the authenticity of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s claim that he is the sole owner of the entire Ashanti land whereas it is never true?
The Ghana media must bow down their head utter in shame!
Once again, for their information, there exists family and individuals’ land, government and divisional stool lands of which no Asantehene can lay claim to.
I hope the media will live up to the public expectations of them to correctly inform the public, hold the government and powerful individuals in the country to account, report on issues of public interest as they become aware of, investigate to report on claims made by any powerful person in the country, etc.
Sunday, 21 November 2021