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11.04.2004 Feature Article

A Rejoinder.............

A Rejoinder.............
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It is with regret that you have allowed your website…Ghanaweb… to be used as a medium for propagating scandalous lies and unfounded stories. One of such stories is the article “Toronto-based Ghanaian Busted with Fake Currency”. First I wonder if you read these stories before you publish them. In the above cited article there are many “blanks” that should have alerted you to the untruthfulness and the news unworthiness of this story. It was evidently clear that the writer “Appiah-Menka”, probably an assumed name, has a hidden agenda and concocted such blatant lies intended to disgrace an individual. Why did “Appiah-Menka” withhold the name of the busted Ghanaian businessman? Where was this businessman caught, at the harbour or at the airport? Which police station handled the arrest? You should have checked with your source and demanded answers to these questions and many more. This process is called an investigative journalism! What disturbed me most is the number of Ghanaian Torontonians who accepted this story at its face value without crosschecking the information and rather embarked on gossiping escapade- refining the stories, filling in the blanks to suit their own wishes. What happened to our natural faculty of reasoning? Our power of reasoning separates us from other animals. We are call upon in our endeavours to use our power of reasoning to discern information and make intelligent decision. Stories of this nature give us Ghanaian Torontonians a bad image in Canada and the worldwide. What we should have done is to demand from Ghanaweb to substantiate the truthfulness of this story by providing us with some verifiable pertinent details.

This article also accused the government of Ghana for indirect involvement and therefore making the government accessory in counterfeit racketeering by the fact of shielding a criminal from prosecution. Such allegation is detrimental to the image of our government and it is a disservice to the nation. It is unfortunate that the police and the intelligent services in Ghana have not demanded some details about the story from you for their thorough investigations. I hope that any sensible person that read this article will dismiss it as a hoax.

In another article “Baker Appointed Ghanaian Consul General”, I was amazed that you published the article when it was also clearly evident that the writer was intentionally undermining the qualification of Nana Boahen who was at the time rumoured to be next Ghana Consul General for Toronto. The negative effects of this article are still evident in the Ghanaian society in Canada. It has sown an irreparable damage to the once cohesive community. I believe that it was a calculated tactics to sew a seed of rift among Ghanaian Torontonians but nothing else.

It is the duty of all Ghanaians, and more so newsmen and journalists not to compromise the image of Ghana for our own individual parochial interest. But rather allow the national image and interest to reign supreme in our behaviour and reportage in order to promote social cohesion and attract goodwill and investment into the country. Freedom of speech/media freedom is an important tool in promoting and advancing our infant democracy and we should cherish it and use it properly and not to abuse it. Freedom of media would be meaningless if it is not exercised with responsibility.

I advise that you adhere to the practice of verifying the correctness of your news and also being informed about issues you put in the public domain and you will be protected from libel suits. Being open-minded, objective, accurate and credible will win the trust, confidence and respect of all the people you serve. We all know that you are not a certified journalist but if you want to practice journalism then you should abide by the rules.

I hope that you will accept this criticism in good faith and correct these mistakes. Publishing this rejoinder is a first a step to acknowledging that you will make amendments to your style of reportage and it will also bring some measure of healing to the Ghanaian community in Toronto. A word to a wise is enough. Email author: [email protected]

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