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26.09.2004 Feature Article

As I Was Saying Before I Was Rudely Interrupted

As I Was Saying Before I Was Rudely Interrupted
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The past couple of weeks have been nothing but very eventful. Like the saying goes we are truly living in very exciting times. Stories about Ghana Airways, drama (a lot of it) on the political front, proceedings from the now-ended National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) and the political conundrum at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) among several stories and sidebars have riveted the nation these few months even as we countdown to the December Presidential and Parliamentary polls.

In news starved environment like Ghana, Journalists have appeared to be the ones on the credit side of the balance sheet as we watch them hog the limelight providing prime time analysis, critique and exponential commentary on the issues of the day.

Don't worry if you hear the same voices and see the same faces all of the time. One thing is clear and that is they don't sing the same tune and that is what makes free speech, democracy, rule of law a very fine thing to have. The sudden outpour of good stories appeared surreal and for some of us we needed for someone to pinch us to finally accept the fact that this was the real McCoy and not a dream.

Unfortunately certain pressing issues and some exigencies of the time contrived to deny me the opportunity to make my usual input and for that I apologise to all my readers.

I promise to keep my column more regular and more interesting in the coming days and weeks especially as we steadily approach the homestretch of a very important and crucial national exercise to elect a President and distinguished men and women to represent us, the sovereign people of Ghana in Parliament.

The imbroglio between our dearly beloved Ghana Airways and Uncle Sam's Almighty Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) which has run the full gamut of public attention and media scrutiny has not blown over yet. Naturally the government has scrambled forces to stave off an embarrassing situation and it appears some semblance of order is gradually been brought to bear on the operations of our national carrier-Ghana Airways.

Why it took so long for this to be done still beats my mind but who says politicians are the smartest people on God's earth. They mount platforms to pontificate on issues instead of addressing them in a clear, intelligent, lucid and well-thought out manner.

They walk with a lot of air and they create an aura of invincibility about them only for them to be exposed for the men and women of straw they truly are by real life issues like the Ghana Airways situation.

While we appreciate the efforts made so far to place the national carrier in good financial and administrative health with the promise of government to absorb the debts of the distressed airline it is hoped that this gesture did not come too late.

We stand to gain a lot than lose when we get Ghana Airways flying again. Having the right to fly to the US direct is a privilege most airlines the world over would kill for.

We just have to get our act together and make the most of it while we can. SINS OF STATE JOURNALISTS Covering the Ghana Airways story might yet become the waterloo of some journalists at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, (GBC). An unfortunate sidebar to the Ghana Airways story involves the interdiction of four very distinguished journalists at yet another national institution-the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

The gentlemen were alleged to have used a blatantly false story they pulled from the website of a foreign news organization without applying what I refer to as the sixth sense of every journalist-the time honoured principle of cross-verification or cross-checking of facts.

It comes with the territory guys! Howbeit what really bugs me more about this whole issue is not about the hallowed crime of the GBC journalists in failing to cross-check the facts of the story? It is the tendency of media owners to over reach when it comes to administering punishment for certain crimes that do not resonate well in the circles of power.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a government issuing a reaction to correct an error on the part of the media. This harmless gesture veers off its most noble of intentions when the government appointed administrator goes out of her way to place journalists on interdiction pending investigations into their alleged “crime”.

The visibly over-bearing constant in the relationship between the government and the state-owned media especially in our part of the world lends themselves to a cocktail of reactions with almost 99.9 per cent being hostile, uncharitable and highly suspicious of the intentions of the government.

This should change and I hope it happens soon.

The good news is that the Ghana Journalists Association has thrown its heart into the issue and we pray good sense prevails.

Have a nice reading. See you next week. Paa Kwesi Plange For Gye Nyame Concord and Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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