09.01.2004 Feature Article

Beating the Western Media at their own game

Beating the Western Media at their own game
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A GNA Feature by Boakye-Dankwa Boadi
One would have thought that the days when pupils at the basic school level were taught that Mungo Park discovered the River Niger and had to reproduce this fallacy in order to obtain distinction at the Middle School Leaving Certificate Examinations were gone, but alas those days are still with us.
Indeed Ghana, Songhai and Mali Empires had flourished and collapsed along the banks of the River Niger more than five hundred years before Mungo Park was born.
Fallacies have continued to be spin by the Western Media and the latest involved the busting of the illicit cocaine trading syndicate at Tema by the Ghana Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) on Wednesday January 7, 2004.
The Ghana News Agency had reported: " The Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) on Wednesday busted Kevin Gorman, 59-year-old American citizen, with 674 kilos of narcotic drugs suspected to be cocaine at his Tema Community 11 residence."
However, the Western Media, represented by the ubiquitous British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) would have none of this and twists the facts and reports: "Four British men have been arrested in Ghana after officials seized A380 million worth of cocaine destined for the streets of the UK.
"A UK-led international law operation resulted in the seizure of a tonne of the drugs in a raid on a villa in the suburbs of Accra. "One German and two Ghanaians were also arrested following the raid, which was the culmination of a six-month intelligence operation led by UK Customs officers.
"Customs Minister John Healey said: 'a sophisticated, international gang has been dismantled and a large shipment of cocaine has been prevented from causing harm on our streets.'
"A spokesman for Customs and excise described the seizure as 'huge', particularly given that intelligence had shown that all of the cocaine was destined for the UK.
"He added that it was one of the biggest seizures ever made by Custom officers."
This version is typical of the Western Media, which sees the African as being incapable of performing such a complex operation without the leadership of Europeans or Americans.
But the Western Media must be told in no uncertain terms that the days of "Mungo Park discovering River Niger" are gone forever. Following the claim by the BBC that the operation was UK-led, the GNA interviewed Colonel Isaac Akuoku, Executive Secretary of NACOB and filed the following report:
"The Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) on Thursday denied a BBC story, which stated that the January 7 cocaine bust in Tema was a UK-led international law enforcement operation.
"Col. Isaac Akuoku, Executive Secretary of NACOB, in an interview with the GNA, said although there was intelligence collaboration between the two countries, the arrest was effected by NACOB with the assistance of the Ghana Police Service.
"With drug related issues a lot of countries collaborate to be able to make an arrest and intercept the drugs involved," he said, adding, that intelligence organisations need each other, but it is unfair to give credit to where it did not belong.
"NACOB on Wednesday busted Kevin Gorman, 59-year-old American citizen, with 674 kilos of narcotics drug suspected to be cocaine at his Tema Community 11 residence.
"The cocaine the largest consignment that NACOB has ever accosted since its establishment in Ghana and also believed to be the biggest in Africa was estimated to have a street value of 14 million dollars.
"With respect to the value, Col Akuoku said the street value in the UK was far higher than in Ghana and he could, therefore, not dispute the value quoted by the BBC.
"The BBC priced the seized drug at 80 million pounds.
"Col. Akuoku was emphatic that 674 kilograms of cocaine was seized and not a ton and described the BBC report as an exaggeration.
"He said the cocaine would be destroyed on Friday.
"NACOB was processing Gorman and the other suspects for court when the GNA visited their offices in Accra.
"They are Alan Hodson, 45; David Logan, 43; and Frank Lavelrick, all British nationals. Sven Herb, 45, a German and two Ghanaians, David Ahulu, 52, Managing Director and Alfred Barnes, Director, both of Tuna-To-Go Limited.
"The BBC on Thursday reported that a UK-led international law operation resulted in the seizure of a ton of cocaine in a raid on a villa in the suburb of Accra when indeed the seizure took place in Tema Community 11 and was an all-Ghanaian affair."
The point being canvassed here is that Western stereotyping pops up its ugly head at the least opportunity and the Media in the technologically developing countries should spare no effort in drowning it anywhere it surfaces.

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