Legal advocacy group, the Center for National Affairs has begun what it says is a campaign to ensure that presidential candidates for the 2012 elections are persons with proven credibility and integrity.
The group is tasking the media to play a lead role in this, saying this must be a critical issue going into the elections.
At a press briefing today, the group hit hard against the media for what it calls the failure to interrogate, these candidate on their various campaign trails.
Rocky Obeng a senior policy analyst of the Center for National Affairs also accused some senior journalists of compromising their positions, a situation he said is detrimental to the growth and development of the country.
The following is the full statement
The Media And The Presidency
On the 27th of August, 2012 The Centre for National Affairs issued a statement in which the media was singled-out for special commendation for the professional manner in which practitioners conducted their business with the greatest level of patriotism and professionalism. Indeed we considered that unfortunate incident of the demise of our late president John Evans Atta-Mills as a real test of the media to yet again show to Ghanaians the depth of professionalism our media landscape had reached. We were very proud and explicit to register our satisfaction in the manner in which press men and women elevated the journalism profession.
We have however witnessed a very disturbing trend since then, the trend if not checked immediately will deny the Ghanaian electorate the opportunity to properly assess the qualities, credentials and character of the presidential candidates for the December elections.
The Centre for National Affairs is very worried about this creeping phenomenon. The new phenomenon where critical questions about the suitability, honesty and Integrity of presidential candidates are ignored is indeed unacceptable. The new trend where the Ghanaian voter is simply not sure about how presidential candidates will respond in the event where they are not chosen by the people. We acknowledge that some of the presidential candidates have a track record of having to deal with potentially challenging elections outcome but there are new entrants. The Ghanaian voter would want to know from these new entrants in very explicit terms how they would respond to a similar situation of electoral defeat in the 2012 December polls.
CNA has observed of late that, respected senior journalists, known journalists who were once known for their objectivity and critical analysis have suddenly seen nothing important about being critical of persons in government and the presidency. Our media research team is amazed at the findings where some of these respected journalists have metamorphocized into public relations officers for the presidency if not the ruling party. Of course, they may have the right to do so, but CNA believes, in doing so, they would have most certainly compromised the sacred responsibility and the ethics of their profession. The Media Research unit of CNA noted that the allegation of cash dole outs to key media practitioners has been common in recent times and is widely confirmed by Junior Practitioners who complain about editorial improprieties. These senior journalists often cite their friendship with the president as one of the many reasons for their leniency but we wish to state here that leadership goes beyond friendship and personal favours. Ghanaian Journalists are not for sale. Journalism is not a commodity on the market
Regrettably, CNA is not in a position to stop monetary inducement to such journalists but in a position to publish this research finding in order to revive the volunteerism spirit practitioners of the profession have exhibited through very daring moments of our national life.
The leadership of the centre (CNA) is worried over this development. Such practices are dangerous to the quality of good governance and the entrenchment of democratic values. The Ghanaian voter is anxious to know from other presidential candidates when the presidential candidate of the PPP, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom says, '' I will submit all of my tax returns, and declare the source of funding of the PPP as well declare my personal assets value before filing of my nomination with the EC''. This indeed is a positive and bold declaration from the PPP leader and it is therefore, only fair that Mr. Hassan Ayariga, Nana Akuffo Addo, Dr. Abu Sakara and more importantly President Mahama to state their view on this bold anti-corruption statement from Dr. Nduom
Again, the Ghanaian voter would want to know from other presidential candidates when Nana Akuffo Addo Dankwah made that bold statement that '' I am not corrupt, I have never been corrupt and do hereby invite fellow Ghanaians to launch a probe into my public life. In view of this trust me when I say I will fight corruption because I Nana Addo will demand same from my team as the president of our dear nation''. Ladies and gentlemen of the press, shouldn't president Mahama be asked to make a similar call of probe into his public life as the leader of the NDC? Shouldn't he? The centre (CNA) thinks it is only proper and fair that with just about three months to the elections such must be the direction of our questions to the president of the republic and the leader of the NDC(ruling party).
We would continue to be critical of such Senior Journalists and keep a close watch on the activities of such senior journalists. President John Mahama must be asked the very tough questions which border on integrity and corruption. Ghanaians are disappointed in this sudden turn by these senior Journalists who are seen ostensibly on media houses doing the bidding of the presidency.The nation is utterly shocked at this development on the part of these senior journalists.
Our nation is saddled with very high levels of corruption which has taken so many resources away from developmental projects and many of our people are hopelessly languishing in abject poverty. The centre (CNA) wishes to announce here that by mid of next week, it will make available to the Ghanaian people very shocking revelations and new twists to the never ending scandals of judgment debts.
We, at the centre for national Affairs would like to sincerely thank you for responding to our invitation. May God bless our dear nation
Rocky R. E. Obeng
Snr. Policy Analyst
Centre for National Affairs