PPP Calls on the Media to be Awake!
Events in recent days confirm our conviction that the media companies and practitioners must become wide Awake and make pluralism work for all stakeholders. Ghana needs an independent media, fair to all and with the uncompromised ability to hold a big, bright mirror in front of the entire Ghanaian society.
When the NPP boycotted Asempa - an all talk radio station in Accra owned by the Multimedia broadcasting company, and the Mills-led NDC Administration followed with an unprecedented boycott of all Multimedia outlets, the media organization buckled under the threats, instead of fighting for their
rights guaranteed under the constitution. Rather, Freedom-loving Ghanaians gathered forces to support the Multimedia group and all media organizations against the unconstitutional ban that sought to prevent them access to government ministries, departments and agencies.
Why did Multimedia refuse to fight? Why has GTV refused to cover some political events in favor of others even when they are paid with our money as taxpayers? Why do some political parties get priority placement on the cover and inside pages of the Daily Graphic?
Some in the media have usurped the rights of the Ghanaian voter and declared the NDC and the NPP the "main political parties in Ghana". Others have gone further to give the ruling NDC priority coverage on TV and in the newspapers even for local and regional activities while major national events of other parties are ignored. The constitution of the land does not prescribe a two party system. Indeed, it is only the Electoral Commission that can decide whether a political party is in good standing or not.
Multimedia has created a majority and minority caucus platform for the NDCand the NPP. Their 'Newsfile' program has become NDC versus NPP. PeaceFM's morning 'Kokrokoo' program has become an impregnable NDC/NPP wall forthe other parties. On Fridays, Metro TV has a fixed NDC against NPP
newspaper discussion in the morning. Check political representation on the other days and you will find NDC and NPP representatives.
With programming so dependent on NDC and NPP for content, they become unglued when faced with a boycott! Their two party-based programming becomes dysfunctional all of a sudden. They have made it possible for the NPP and the NDC to believe that anything goes - insults, unsubstantiated
accusations, physical fights, indecent behavior, etc. After all they have been made to believe that if the voters reject one, the other will win!
Though this may be a winning scenario for the NDC and NPP, the people of Ghana are the losers.
It is time for change.
We believe that our country will be enriched greatly when all QUALIFIED political parties are given equal access in the media to state their caseand present their messages and activities to the people of Ghana. Our constitution demands it, especially from the state-owned media. In this regard, we urge the Electoral Commission to do an audit of the compliance of the 17 or so political parties in its books. We are certain that when this is done, and the two party “monopoly” is disbanded, all parties will be challenged to improve their proposition for Ghana, and three or four parties may remain while the others are challenged to grow strength.
The media, organizations such as the IEA, TUC, GNAT, GEA and others will have a better way of determining how true our multi-party democracy will grow and real choice will be in the hands and minds of all Ghanaians not just with afew people. People power is the means to a prosperous and progressive country.