There have been a lot of complaints and grumblings about misinformation being published by the Ghana Home Page (“GHP”). For the record, GHP does not censor or edit any article or information it publishes. It is a channel that allows all Ghanaians to access or supply information. This means there should be a level of responsibility on the part of those who write or disseminate information on the website.
Ghanaians have to be aware that GHP has been a great platform for the political, social and economic development of our country. It is essential that we do not put out wrong or false information to be consumed by the Ghanaian public. Information must be properly sourced and checked for accuracy before publication. We are trying to build a lasting democracy, which is based on truth and we cannot afford to abuse this privilege.
When President Kufour came to New York in 2001, he emphasized that his government puts a great value on the contribution of Ghanaians “living abroad” to the economic and social growth of Ghana In this direction his government should pay attention to what kind of information Ghanaians “abroad” are being fed with. GHP has been the main source of information for Ghanaians “abroad”. Any government that discounts the importance of GHP must not care about Ghanaians “abroad”.
The Minister of Information should designate personnel to pay attention to GHP and making sure information concerning Ghana and the government is accurate and fair. I am not suggesting that the government should respond to any trivial or irrelevant information, but information that go to shape opinions and attitudes towards the government.
It is an undeniable truth that since GHP came into existense, Ghanaians “abroad” are better informed on what is going on in Ghana. There is nothing better than education. If Ghanaians had well-informed, some of the previous governments could not have gotten away with so much and left our country in abject poverty. Ghanaians “abroad” need the good news to boost our morale and hope. We have families at home we care about. Ghana is our home. We want the good news; that the government has purchased 565 vehicles for the health officials. We want to hear that the Black Stars beat South Africa's Bafana Bafana 2-0.
Here is a classic example of the importance of Information Ministries checking what is put out on the Ghana Website. On Sept. 14th 2005, Mr. Kwamina Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development and President Special Initiatives, was reported on GHP as saying that : “ the govt. would not subsidize or institute any form of protection for domestic poultry industry so long as it cannot produce at a comparative cheaper cost than the imported ones.” Then, on the 19th of Sept 2005, Mr. Kwamina Bartels, while inspecting a new garment factory at Koforidua, was quoted as saying ; “ On the Cotton industry , we have a problem there, America is subsidizing its cotton industry by 47%”. How smart is our govt.? How are our farmers going to compete at comparative cheaper cost when he knows well that the Americans are subsidizing her farmers? If these statements stand as they were reported, then one can say Mr. Kwamina Bartels does not know what he is doing.
There is a misconception about democracy. While trying to build a solid democratic government, we have to understand that democracy is a means to an end; it is not an end in itself. We want to build a democratic government that gives the average Ghanaian a fair chance to a decent life. Merely going to parliament to remove tariffs on rice and poultry to undermine the local farmers is not democracy. This is not in the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian. This is why some of us write. This is why we need the “truth” and the GHP. We should not sit still for our nation's foundation to be irreparably weakened. Any group which comes to power must take note.