The role of an active and dauntless media in any given democracy cannot be marginalised. The practice must, however, be hinged on sincerity and morality if the desired dividends are to be realised.
The ethics of the profession must at all times be upheld so that the public interest which media practice seeks to uphold would not be compromised.
Media practice has witnessed its share of twists and bends over the years with the opening of the floodgates for the operation of newspapers and radio stations on the public space. Crooked practice devoid of decency and laced with outright sycophancy, juxtaposed with constructive reportage and commentaries to keep governments in check have all been experienced by the people of this country at various times.
While the freedom of expression maxim must be allowed to flourish without inhibition, there have been challenges, however, some of which sometimes constitute national security threats.
President Akufo-Addo, an old fox in the practice of democracy which he has fought for most part of his life to sustain and protect, cannot be one to fall in love with the sycophant media. This, he made, explicit when he engaged the media in a town hall style meeting.
He fielded the questions as best he could, although many would have wanted the session to be longer. No engagement of this sort is without a time limit and so it had to end at a point and to be moderated.
Periodic engagements of the kind, we witnessed yesterday, have the capacity of deepening our democratic practice, especially if it is underpinned by sincerity and candour.
President Akufo-Addo's stated preference for a noisy media as opposed to one enmeshed in sycophancy is the mark of a politician who understands the importance of journalism in a democracy.
Expectedly, there are many angles to the town hall engagement but in our estimation dwelling on the media segment has unlimited dividends because the health of a country's media determines the quality of the prevailing democracy. That has determined our choice of segment to the varied faceted engagement.
The president's preference should serve as a standard for his appointees to follow. For those who expect to be constantly praised the way sycophants do that cannot inure to the good health of democracy. If we must be robust in our criticisms of appointees or the government as a whole, we would do so with the utmost objective of safeguarding the national interest. The president has given the green light for this template.
When the media fails to mirror the true state of governance by feeding both the governed and the government with untruths laced with unrestricted pampering, it would not take long before things fall apart.
Engaging with the media as the president did is doing so with the people of Ghana who voted him into power. Therein lies the importance of the media which should not be taken for granted by bad appointees who have a warped concept about public service.
Stories about scandals not broken but concealed for favours would affect the quality of governance and those so withholding the negative developments would be doing more harm to the country than otherwise.