ModernGhanalogo

FEATURED: Why Are Black People Obsessed With The Bible That Was Used To Enslave ...

body-container-line-1
24.03.2007 Feature Article

WHEN DANCERS PLAY HISTORIANS AND THINKERS – PART 24

WHEN DANCERS PLAY HISTORIANS AND THINKERS – PART 24

In the wake of the recent brutal murder of a well-known Ghanaian journalist (February 2007), the role of the Press in the development of a secure, democratic culture could not be overemphasized. And to fully appreciate the centrality of this subject, that is the Press, we have decided to examine the critical questions raised by Professor K. A. B. Jones-Quartey in his book titled A Summary History of the Ghana Press: 1822-1960 (Accra-Tema: Ghana Publishing Corporation, 1974).

A quite witty epigraph quoted from Charles Bannerman, a prominent Ghanaian journalist of the nineteenth century, authoritatively defines the role of the Press as follows: “In civilized communities, the Press deservedly occupy a high position. The mass of mankind [lacks] either the leisure or the capacity to form a sound opinion on most questions of the day – we mean an opinion founded on calm reflection and thorough examination of the subject. Men's opinions[,] therefore, where there is no Press, are often mere whims and fancies, formed on very trifling knowledge of the matter. Their information is frequently incorrect.
It is good[,] therefore[,] for the public that there should be a set of men who devote their time and ability to collecting and distributing general information. And it is good that these men should make it their duty to examine questions of importance, and submit their opinions, when matured, to the public. So long as these men do their duty fairly and with [good] judgment, they ought to be supported by the public. They are so[,] in fact.
If a journalist avoids personalities, tells the truth, and fairly and boldly expresses his opinions, he will naturally receive the support of the community in whose interest he is working; and even the Authorities, though they may dislike [him], [they] must respect him” (Summary History iii).

Here in the United States, there is a maxim which reckons journalists and their profession as one that offers an indispensable window into the intricate dynamics of “civilized society.” The latter key phrase is worth observing, for it unmistakably implies that the Press can best function when its institutional legitimacy is taken for granted or regarded as a given. In postcolonial Ghana such role may, at best, be regarded as a toss-up or tentative, and at the worst a nuisance, as the Mafia-style execution of Mr. Samuel Ennin, the Asante regional president of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) appears to evince. But that such heinous and dastardly act occurred under the proverbial watch of, perhaps, the most democratic and liberal government in postcolonial Ghanaian history makes this tragic incident all the more depressing. At the time of this writing (February 19, 2007), Ghanaian law-enforcement authorities had yet to bring the culprits to book. And with the widely reported prevalence of apparently inadequate policing throughout the country, this being the veritable result of twenty disastrous years of NDC domination of the country's political landscape, it is almost certain that Mr. Ennin's alleged killers may never be – promptly, at least – brought to book.

While, indeed, the author of A Summary History of the Ghana Press prefers to see it in organic and broadly generalized terms, the history of the West African Press is also, in a practical sense, the history of the European press as it operated in West Africa in pre-colonial and colonial times, for it would be well into the twentieth century that an indigenous African press would take roots in the West African sub-region: “Journalism in Ghana started in the year 1822 at Cape Coast. On 27th March of that year General Sir Charles MacCarthy, the first Crown Governor of the then Gold Coast Settlements, landed at Cape Coast and a few days later launched an official paper which he called the Royal Gold Coast Gazette. The whole enterprise and all its main features were almost in exact duplication of the experience of Sierra Leone, further up west on the coast, where Sir Charles was already 'Governor-in-Chief.' MacCarthy had been in Sierra Leone in that position since 1817, before being given the additional responsibility of governing the 'Gold Coast Forts and Settlements' too. This[,] in fact[,] made him responsible for three groups of territories, including the Gambia River holding of St. James Island” (Summary History 1).

It also does not appear that these newspapers, with a few localized exceptions, were published for the immediate, or ready, consumption of the very few literate West Africans: “Still, it was the colonizers that in their wisdom and for their own purposes established the newspaper press in each place where they did so, and in that way laid the foundations for the building up of a history of journalism at all in those various [sic] territories” (Summary History 2).

In a practical, historical sense, therefore, the Press as an indigenous Ghanaian institution began in 1857, and during this era it was largely run by the coastal mulattoes: “The next phase [after the pioneering MacCarthy era] was the Bannerman era, in which, again, there was only one notable and sustained press enterprise so far recorded. This was the effort of the Bannerman Brothers of Accra – Charles and Edmund – and the paper they first started to write out by hand under the name of Accra Herald. Charles Bannerman, soon after the start in September 1857, changed the paper's name to West African Herald, started printing it in Cape Coast, moved with it to Freetown (Sierra Leone) because he could not find adequate printing facilities in his own country, then moved back 'home' to Cape Coast some years later, probably in the late 1860s[,] according to the evidence of survivals of the paper. The Herald ceased altogether in late 1873 or early 1874. Again[,] it is still impossible to say exactly, because of yet undiscovered evidence” (Summary History 4).

Interestingly, however, Jones-Quartey also dates the establishment of the indigenous Ghanaian Press almost two decades after the pioneering efforts of the Bannerman brothers: “The Gold Coast press became fully and finally established from March 1874, when another phase in its history began. On the 24th day of the month in that year, James Hutton Brew, of Dunkwa in Fanteland, established the Gold Coast's first African-owned, fully printed newspaper that was also wholly produced in the country from beginning to end. He named it the Gold Coast Times. It was a fortnightly paper, was produced in Cape Coast and lasted from March 1874 to November 1885, a performance which in such early times in the African colonial territories was remarkable” (Summary History 6).

Equally interesting but hardly surprising, is the fact that the great political ferment that catapulted Ghana into its historic demand for sovereignty in the 1940s actually began with the coastal elite publishers, editors and patrons (or readers) of the early newspapers. Obviously, the latter institution facilitated the seminal formation of a critical mass of political agitators; and on this score, we learn from Jones-Quartey, for instance, that West Africa's foremost thinker and statesman in the first-half of the twentieth century, J. E. Casely-Hayford, emerged from such tradition: “When James Brew stopped his Gold Coast Times in November 1885, he had by no means decided to abandon the journalistic field. Indeed it would appear that he intended merely to reorganize himself and his press enterprise. For in the same month and the same year that he stopped issuing the Times he started an even more significant publication, one which in fact brought him still greater local fame and popularity. This was the paper he called Western Echo, a fortnightly which ran for two years from November 1885 to December 1887. The Western Echo introduced two new recruits to journalism: one, Mr. Brew's nephew, was the young man who was later to become a beacon on the horizon of Gold Coast history, Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford; and two, Mr. Timothy Laing, who likewise developed into an outstanding local figure in the journalistic and political world of Ghana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries” (Summary History 9).

Needless to say, the very fact that as early as 1885-87 Ghanaian newspaper editors and lawyers were demanding sovereignty for their newly colonized country is remarkable, if only to put paid to myopic historiographical attempts by some critics and scholars to date such landmark initiative well into the twentieth century, and then to ahistorically attribute such sociopolitical ferment to individual personalities, rather than the more historically accurate reality of this process having been masterminded by the small but quite powerful and cohesive community of coastal intellectuals. Nonetheless, one particular intellectual, of mixed Ga and inland Akan heritage appears to have stood head and shoulders above his peers, for what Jones-Quartey observes to have been the Rev. Attoh Ahuma's unflappable, nationalist fervor: “The Western Echo ceased publication in December 1887, just before J. H. Brew left the Gold Coast for England in January 1888, never to return home. (He died in London in 1915). The year before the demise of the Echo, 1886, a new journal was launched in Cape Coast. It was a missionary paper called the Gold Coast Methodist, and was of course an enterprise by the religious mission of that name. The Methodist was first edited by two English missionaries, the Reverends W. T. Coppin and W. M. Cannell. In 1894 they were succeeded by an African clergyman of part Ga and part Ashante [sic] origin: the Reverend S. R. B. Solomon, later to become celebrated as the Reverend S. R. B. Attoh Ahuma.
The Rev. Solomon became the Rev. Mr. Attoh Ahuma, and under him as the new editor of the Gold Coast Methodist also modified its name to Gold Coast Methodist Times. Editor and journal now combined to create what Casely-Hayford, in his Gold Coast Native Institutions (Chapter V: 'Landmarks') described as 'perhaps the greatest effort in journalism' in the country during that period in its history. In sum, Attoh Ahuma converted what began as a missionary journal into a nationalist tract, full of passages burning with patriotic zeal and anti-colonial passion. So much so that the mission could stand it no longer by 1897, and sacked the trouble maker!

This was in the month of November, but Attoh Ahuma simply walked out of this particular editorial office into another one! In January 1898, only two months after his removal as editor of the Methodist Times, he joined – or was joined by – another clergyman-nationalist, the Reverend K. Egyir Asaam, to start a new paper for a new organization. This body was the Aborigines' Rights Protection Society, and the newspaper established as its mouthpiece under Attoh Ahuma and Egyir Asaam was called the Gold Coast Aborigines. The records show so far that the Aborigines continued publishing until sometime in 1909, and was in 1912 combined by name with another paper, the Gold Coast Nation, to form Gold Coast Nation and Aborigines. The editor was Attoh Ahuma! This amalgamation also acquired a mixed-up record, as shown later in this work” (Summary History 11-13).

But that the Rev. Attoh Ahuma was partly of Akan-Asante extraction deserves no small, or mean, attention, in view of the routine manner in which modern Ghanaian history, vis-à-vis the independence struggle, has tended to be written, with the lion's share of the credit being almost exclusively conceded the Mulatto-Fante elite of the Ghanaian littoral.

Interestingly, while many Ghanaians pride themselves in the fact of their country having been the beacon of African decolonization in the twentieth century, and rightly so, still, as Jones-Quartey aptly observes, the intellectual ferment which facilitated such momentous political advancement was not uniquely Ghanaian. Prominent among the vanguard ranks of the indigenous Ghanaian Press were nationals of Nigeria and Sierra Leone, for example. And regarding the signal contribution of nationals of the preceding countries, Jones-Quartey writes: “We now come to the first sixty years of the 20th century. The paper which heralded the new era was the Gold Coast Leader, with which the name of Casely-Hayford has most closely been associated. But a survivor of the period, Mr. W. S. Kwesi Johnston, of Cape Coast, has testified that Casely-Hayford was a late-comer on the Leader, either as proprietor/owner or as editor. Johnston names J. P. Herbert Brown as the real founder/owner of the paper, with whom are associated in the history the persons of Attoh Ahuma, John Buckman and Gaddiel Acquaah. Johnston has added that the first editor was[,] in fact[,] one of the two brothers Savage[,] of Nigeria, who had settled in Cape Coast, and one of whom was a barrister and the younger a medical doctor. The latter it was who was said to have been the first editor of the Leader. It is still undetermined what the exact roles and functions of all these gentlemen were, but the tradition has come down to us of Casely-Hayford being the outstanding personality in Leader history, and master of the paper during most of its life” (Summary History 17).

The preceding may, indeed, at least partially account for J. E. Casely-Hayford's widely known and acknowledged ideology of pan-West Africanism, which found material expression in Casely-Hayford's landmark founding of the institutionally reformist National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA). And so in a real, organic, sense President Nkrumah's historic declaration on the eve of Ghana's reassertion of her sovereignty from British colonial domination that: “The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent” was not without practical precedent and relevance within the broad and total sweep of twentieth-century Ghanaian and West African political history. In other words, Nkrumah was simply echoing the likes of J. E. Casely-Hayford when he called for the organic unification of the hitherto balkanized and Western-dominated geopolitical enclaves on the African continent. And regarding the seminal contribution of Casely-Hayford towards the totality of the African liberation struggle, this is what the author of A Summary History of the Ghana Press has to say: “The second decade of the century, in its turn, marked the governorship of Sir Hugh Clifford, whose administration was notable for the first expansion of the Legislative Council, and for the growing opposition of the Gold Coast Africans to government without popular, elective representation. Near the end of this decade, Casely-Hayford came into his own as perhaps the outstanding political leader of the whole of West Africa, and, in his person, the nearest that Africa had come so far to participation in the movement then gathering identity as 'Pan-Africanism.' It was Casely-Hayford who was most instrumental in getting together the leaders of the four countries of the British connection to form the National Congress of British West Africa, with himself as Organizing Secretary and Mr. T. Hutton-Mills, of Jamestown, Accra, as President, when the first West African conference met to consolidate the formation of the National Congress. Casely-Hayford was also an early preacher on race consciousness – but not on race hatred – for the people of West Africa. His first notice on this subject appears in the first editorial of the Gold Coast Leader” (Jones-Quartey 19).

In other words, for Jones-Quartey, the relatively greater genius of J. E. Casely-Hayford, vis-a-vis Kwame Nkrumah, a generation-and-half later, inhered in the ultimate recognition of the integral fact of the primal institution of Chieftaincy – or monarchy – to the political, cultural and economic development of modern Ghana. For where Nkrumah envisaged administrative and cultural regression, Casely-Hayford, the seminal organic intellectual, scholar and statesman perceived a salutary opportunity for the massive and phenomenal development of a uniquely Ghanaian national identity, in much the same manner that the Osagyefo Nana Ofori-Atta I had envisaged and vigorously championed the institution of Chieftaincy. “The struggle began mostly with the National Congress movement, in which the educated elite took the initiative to speak for the country and were stoutly challenged by the chiefly class (led by the first Ofori-Atta) as to their mandate and qualification for the role they were attempting to assume.
Ofori-Atta and his traditionalists had strong support from West Africa's British administrators, led particularly by Sir Hugh Clifford, who had meanwhile been promoted to the governorship of Nigeria. In the Gold Coast itself, Guggisberg, though a reputed liberal in many ways and considered a great benefactor to the people, also lent aid and comfort to the Ofori-Atta forces, supposedly because he considered Casely-Hayford and his movement to have gone over his head to appeal to Westminster for local reforms, which he insisted were already in hand [or underway] in the Gold Coast anyway.

Towards the end[,] Casely-Hayford lost some popularity in his own country, for similar reasons as had been present in John Mensah Sarbah's case. Hayford's was more positive, for much of it arose from his support of Ofori-Atta I, his long time foe, in the preparation and passage of the controversial Native Administration Ordinance into law in 1927…. Complete, or almost complete files of the Gold Coast Leader are available for consultation in many places in Ghana…in London, and in other libraries and archives in Britain” (Summary History 20).

And for those fanatical Nkrumacrats who would have their hero singularly credited with the seminal and indispensable modernization of twentieth-century Ghana, Jones-Quartey poignantly observes: “During the third decade there was the notable tenure of Sir Gordon Guggisberg, who was Governor of the Gold Coast from 1919 until 1927. It was Guggisberg who was responsible for the most massive undertakings in the country since it came formally under the Crown in 1874. Guggisberg, an engineer by professional training, constructed many principal roads, completed the Accra-Kumasi railway, built Takoradi Harbor and Korle-Bu Hospital, as well as founding Achimota School and, finally, bringing 'Aggrey of Africa' back to his country as an educator. Casely-Hayford and the Leader were there during the whole of this period to record it all in the paper.
It is to be emphasized that there were great social and political strains and stresses during the period. It was[,] in fact[,] one in which, perhaps for the first time and as serious as it got to be, there was a struggle for dominance and survival between the traditional rulers of Ghana and the growing number of intelligentsia. The leaders in this struggle were Nana Ofori-Atta I[,] on the one side and, on the other, Casely-Hayford, supported by Kobina Sekyi and others, all of whom made notable use of the press” (Summary History 19).

Indeed, while his genius as a statesman and political thinker has been widely acknowledged, Jones-Quartey significantly adds that Dr. J. B. Danquah was easily the greatest Ghanaian journalist of his generation, and certainly one of the canonized literary giants on the African continent: “Danquah and Azikiwe were not, however, the only bright lights in this journalistic firmament, though they were the brightest. Others could be counted, including Kobina Sekyi (W. E. G. Sekyi), Daniel George Tackie, R. B. Wuta-Ofei, George J. Peregrino-Peters (or George Peters), Kenneth MacNeil Stewart, I. T. A. Wallace-Johnson, Mabel Dove (later Mrs. J. B. Danquah, for some years), and Henry B. Cole” (Summary History 22).

Then also, Jones-Quartey observes the fact that much of the agitation for independence which found seminal expression in the Press – or the field of journalism – was almost singularly spearheaded by the towering personalities of Dr. Danquah and Mr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, future president of postcolonial Nigeria. It is, indeed, for the preceding reason, among a plethora of others, of course, that from the Ghanaian perspective, the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics may also be incontrovertibly credited with having, more than almost any other Ghanaian before or after him, orchestrated the crucial architectural contours, or blue-print, for Ghana's liberation from British colonial domination: “With Nnamdi Azikiwe gone home to Nigeria, Dr. Danquah in a constructive/organizational mood, and Wallace Johnson punished and deported, the political temperature was much reduced and the Gold Coast much quieter between the middle of 1937 and the arrival of Kwame Nkrumah from England in 1947, after the turbulence of the preceding seven years. The departure of Azikiwe, and the temporary absence of Dr. Danquah between 1934 and 1936, had a definitely quieting influence on those succeeding ten years. Especially since Zik had gone out in a blaze of glory following his discharge by the West African Court of Appeal, in March 1937, from a conviction for sedition, his going [leaving or departure?] left a gap and a still [or chilling?] of political excitement. There was, all in all, little of political and social change during the 1930s, but much of agitation for change while the two men were each in his period leading the agitation. The press of the ten years before 1947 plugged away at the demand for constitutional change after 'J. B.' and 'Zik,' but in the absence of these two trailblazers[,] the fires of agitation did not burn quite as brightly or with as much heat as between 1931 and 1937” (Summary History 24).

Significant to an enlightened appreciation of Ghana's unique and central position in continental African politics is the inherent fact that unlike the rest of Anglophone Africa – Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Gambia and even Liberia – the Ghanaian Press was almost wholly owned and operated by indigenous entrepreneurs and the educated class. The primary benefit from local ownership of the media establishment was the glaring fact that it fostered the kind of intellectual and ideological boldness that a foreign-owned and operated Press would not have facilitated, if only for the simple reason that allowing such local political ferment to flourish would have also meant swiftly writing themselves out of the media market and history as well: “At the outset it is important to note that the press in the former 'British' West Africa – like land, or cocoa – has been completely African-owned and operated, except at the very beginning and then comparatively recently. This contrasts sharply with, say, early newspaper ownership in the Dutch West Indies, the tea industry in Ceylon [Sri Lanka], land in East Africa (pre-independence) or even commerce on the West Coast. That fact is doubly important, for it was both the strength and weakness of the West African press, and still largely is. From this it should be clear that the question of vested-interest ownership of the press in West Africa generally, as between foreign and local promoters, did not arise until relatively recently; not even for Sierra Leone and Nigeria, where there was more of it for a longer period. In Ghana, throughout the whole of the 19th century, the evidence was of only two known instances of Englishmen establishing newspapers of their own, with two or three more in which the Methodists founded mission papers…. Then, in the hectic period immediately preceding the final phase of the self-government movement, several efforts on the part of foreign interests at last culminated in the establishment of the first really big press and newspaper business by an outsider: Graphic Company, then owned by the former English press lord, Cecil King. The only other foreign-owned press of any proportions at all was the Ashanti Times, which commenced in 1947 and was owned by the Sir Edward Spears' mining company in Obuasi-Ashanti. But the Times was small, and in every financial sense quite incomparable with the Graphic Company and its main publication, the Daily Graphic” (Summary History 26-7).

For Jones-Quartey, paradoxically, it was in the immediate postcolonial era that Ghanaian journalism lapsed into an unsavory fit of paralysis, with the latter being the direct result of the advent of a pseudo-socialist government that, under the specious guise of “Development Journalism,” attempted to, literally, freeze ideological dissent. Consequently, the period between 1956 and 1966 may aptly be designated as “The Dark Days of Modern Ghanaian Journalism.” On the latter score, Jones-Quartey writes at length: “A curious situation existed in Ghana in 1959/60: journalists confessed to fear and hesitation to use their right of freedom of speech, although the Constitution guaranteed it for them and the law as it existed prescribed no terrors against this exercise….

There was hardly anything else. Yet local journalists confessed to fear of government action against them in case of disagreement. This, again, in spite of the fact that there was an opposition newspaper in the country which criticized some aspect of government activity, or some government personalities, in practically every issue of the paper. And these circumstances had developed only within the few years before independence in 1957.

In reply to this pointer, the journalists of 1959/60 – some active, some retired into other work – insisted that one should consider the situation as a whole in order to understand their fears. And the situation [,]as they saw it, was one in which: (a) there was an authoritative one-party civilian government in power, which considered that there ought not to be too much difference of opinion on national affairs at a time of such a new thing as independence from colonialism, and when there was such urgent need for unity for national construction and reconstruction; in which party-opposition forces were weak and growing weaker daily, almost in inverse ratio to the progressively growing power of the government and its one-party system; (c) in which press power, bolstering all other kinds of power, rested principally in an expanding press belonging to, and/or controlled and/or influenced and/or inspired by, that government itself; with press opposition or criticism confined to one single paper, all the others at the time being reduced to acquiescence, concurrence, neutrality or indifference, and (d) in which notice was to be taken of the government's 'no-nonsense' policy, as demonstrated by its then recent deportation of two foreign journalists because they had been critical; also by its exclusion from the country of at least one other pressman, in addition to the detention in prison [sic] of a large number of opposition party members and oppositional elements.

The CPP government, for its part, could rightly point out at the time – and did: that it had passed no oppressive or disabling laws against the press since it came to power; that there was one paper in the country which was [an] out-and-out daily critic of the government; and that the then Minister of Education and Information was a recognized patron and friend of the Ghana Press Club of the day – if further evidence of the government's liberalism were needed to prove these bona fides.

Whatever the absolute merits or otherwise of the claims of either side, it was nevertheless true that with only the one remarkable exception – the Ashanti Pioneer – the Ghana Press of 1959/60 as a whole seemed to live in daily terror of offending the CPP government. The press seemed, in short, to have had nothing to offer the reading public except cagey neutrality and fulsome acquiescence. That was the factual situation in this vital area during that period, as could be proved by the evidence of mountainous press-production content – better still, as could be proved by the history of the two or three years before 1960.

On other fronts, the environment of progress surrounding the Ghana press of those years were mostly encouraging, especially as to: progress and the promise of progress in education; the enlargement and promising advancement of equipment and service in Radio Ghana and the other augmentary [complementary?] elements of mass media; and the services of the foreign press agencies and of embassy press, information, educational and cultural sections” (Summary History 35-6).

Then also, Jones-Quartey minces no words in observing the indispensable centrality of Dr. Danquah to modern Ghanaian journalism. In essence, notes the former director of the University of Ghana's Adult-Education Department, the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics was indubitably also the Doyen of the “Middle-Period” of twentieth-century Ghanaian journalism: “After him [i.e. J. E. Casely-Hayford] Dr. J. B. Danquah acted for a few years as the transition between that tradition and the age of the modern Gold Coast professional journalist. Dr. Danquah, from 1931 to 1934, was the man from the ancient regime who handed the past over to the present, with his Times of West Africa. The receiver was Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Nigerian who brought a new dimension to Gold Coast – and indeed West African – journalism in 1934. When Azikiwe left the Gold Coast in 1937 both 'the Stormy 30s' and another era in this history came to an end” (Summary History 37).

And in a frankly withering, albeit salutary, analysis, the author of A Summary History of the Ghana Press grimly notes that while severally there have been great professional lights in Ghanaian media culture, as an institution the press leaves much to be desired. Jones-Quartey is, however, charitable enough to also point out that all hope is not yet lost: “However, much still remained to be done. From the middle to the lower levels of pressmen there was still much room for improvement. The one government-initiated Institute of Journalism in Accra was not enough, and more time was needed to put into [place] in-service training schemes. Today there is great need for the education and training of journalistic middle range manpower in Ghana: sub-editors, reporters and proof-readers in particular. What passes and has passed over the years, for news reports, column writing and feature articles in the commercial press of Ghana is and has been a source of national embarrassment to an acute degree. At the very top, the membership of staff has almost always been of excellent quality; editorial writing in the papers here has often been comparable with the best anywhere, bar distressing political sycophancy; for the rest, almost any issue of any commercial newspaper in this country is composed of material to cause deep-seated literary paralysis in the reader, so traumatic is the effect of the language of our press…. The obvious answer to this depressing situation was always that of the press bidding for A-Level type recruits, as well as for recruits from among the graduates of Ghana's institutions for the training of journalists, to man the critical middle-range posts of reporter, sub-editor and proof-reader. And by 'bidding for' (and retaining) such personnel one means with better pay and better conditions of service for as long as such staff can be so retained.

The journalist, in addition to economic security, also needed perpetual freedom of expression under law, and protection from undue pressures such as political, religious, and proprietorial [proprietary?] ones, to be written into his contract if necessary.

On his part, it was the duty of the journalist, then as now, to be constantly aware of his duty to the state, the government of his country, and his own fellow citizen. One dire need among them was the delayed establishment of some system of self-regulation and self-discipline, without which the finest standards of behavior in any calling cannot be attained. Ghana in 1960 boasted of a promising Press Club, of purely social significance. This was a good beginning but [one] which could have been expanded into a sound press association. A press association can always develop the ancillary 'chamber' of a Court of Honor.

This aspect of a journalist's professional organization can exist solely to develop and enforce ethical standards and behavior among themselves and towards all members of the public without distinction. In England such an organization is the British Press Council; in Sweden[,] the Swedish Court of Honor for Journalists, which operates and is in turn operated by a Code of Honor; in Germany[,] the Deutsche Presse Rat” (Summary History 38-40).

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., teaches English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. Three of his latest anthologies of poetry and essays will be published in Fall 2007. E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2007

This author has authored 4745 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Reproduction is authorised provided the author's permission is granted.

body-container-line