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14.03.2005 Diaspora News

In the matter of Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw

By Kwame Adofo Koramoah

I have read the report of Kotoua Selira which, published on Ghanaweb. I have also read the rebuttal of Mr Steve Garbrah, and initially my first reaction was not to get involve because it concerns people that I have had a close, personal relationship with and still continues to do so. I worked with Mr Osei-Ameyaw, and Mr Garbrah is a friend I talk to from time to time. But after given it some thought, and especially to the extent that it raises issues of reporters/journalist and their duties as the fourth estate in a democratic dispensation, I have decided to respond and correct the record.

For starters, I state that Mr Garbrah's rebuttal is clearly misplaced, and with due respect, misconceived. I describe it as such because it fails to address the issues raised in Selira's report. The only issues that had to be addressed were: whether or not the said radio program took place, whether or not, I, myself, Kwame Adofo Koramoah took part in the discussion, and whether or not the callers, especially those whose names were mentioned actually said what is attributed to them in the publication on Ghanaweb by Selira. But sadly, my good friend Mr Garbrah did not address them in his rebuttal, but instead went to attack the reporter who simply reported what actually happened. This is where I believe he is wrong and some understanding of the role of journalist/reporters, as the fourth estate in a democracy is crucial.

I remember I wrote an article on Ghanaweb about Kwaku Baako and the Rawllingses, which was on point on the role of the fourth estate in a democratic system. Politicians generally are defensive about the media. They do not like investigative journalism, and in fact they do not like journalist reporting the facts. The job of journalist/reporters is not to make determinations of whether or not an information is the truth. A journalist job is to report the facts as accurately as possible, without malice. Free speech is a market place of ideas, and truth is ultimately discerned from the facts accurately stated. But unless men and women of goodwill are fearlessly prepared to make the facts available, citizens will not be able to play any meaningful role in a democracy.

I note that my friend Mr Garbrah seem to be saying that Selira does not exist out of some ten thousand (10000) Ghanaians in Australia. But that is not the point. In fact I would go further to say that whether or not s/he exist is irrelevant. The issue is did the event s/he reported occur or did it not. I state for the record that I, myself, Kwame Adofo Koramoah was there. The callers said what has been attributed to them as published on Ghanaweb. Naturally, we would have preferred that it was not published as widely, but the reporter probably thought that they contained matters of public interest and needed to be widely disseminated.

But as citizens, the questions is, would we want to know about the background, lifestyle, etc of individuals who put themselves forward to hold public office or would we not. Would we want to know whether or not such persons are fit and proper, and that they are not the likes of Dr Anane (you know his story), or the Salomey's who steal moneys with the knowledge that they will only go to prison for two years and then they will be granted Presidential pardon.

These are matters of public interest, and as citizens, we there not shut brave reporters up for doing their job as required of them. This is what happened to Raymond Archer on Anane's issue, and to Komla Dumor on SSNIT issue. There is no point in attacking reporters who are merely doing their job. This is where I believe my friend Mr Garbrah is clearly wrong.

I, myself, worked with Mr Osei-Ameyaw. He is a good man. But when I am asked about matters that goes to the heart of the national interest of mother Ghana, my personal relationship with Mr Osei-Ameyaw, or anybody else is subservient to my overriding duty to mother Ghana. I believe as a citizen, my first duty is to Ghana first, and every individual is second. The questions that the people were asking on the radio were legitimate questions, and I could not answer them. This is why I directed the questions to Mr Osei-Ameyaw himself to answer them. I could have easily put a spin on it, but I did not do that. I did not want to mislead citizens who are owed an obligation by public officers to tell the truth, and to keep their duty of care as sworn under oath.

Again as citizens, we all owe it, not only to ourselves, but also to the next generation to defend, to protect our national resources so that our children, and children's children, will not have to pay for it. Now Salomey & co have been released from prison after only two years. They are now free to go and eat their looted lot. Your children, my children, our children will one day have to pay for it. This is why I believe attacking reporters who are merely helping in publishing matters of national interest is just wrong.

Kwame Adofo Koramoah is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia.

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