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01.06.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: Ghanaian Jerry Springer Shows Continue

Accra Daily Mail

Government by radio takes root in Ghana

One of the highpoints of the Kufuor Administration so far is its uncompromising adherence to the freedom of expression and the media.

Having abolished the last vestiges of colonial legislation regarding the freedom of expression, that is the Criminal Libel Section of the country's Criminal Code, the Administration has set the country on a path of true freedom and democracy.

A regime of "Say what you like-Write what you like" currently exists in Ghana. Some people are arguing that it was perhaps too early for that particular law to be expunged from the code, due to abuse, but the Administration has wisely stuck steadfastly to its far-reaching decision.

In a report published this month, the National Intelligence Council (NIC), a US think thank, forecasting the state of Africa in the next 15 years had this brief entry on the media: "The media will continue in most countries to reflect a variety of viewpoints.

The continued liberalization of radio and television will produce a cacophonous stream of views. The impact on domestic politics of this liberalization is difficult to access although it can be expected to produce more visibly contentious processes of government "

In Ghana, the "cacophony" is leading gradually to government by radio where disc jockeys and radio presenters "lead the way" in dredging up all manner of stories that are then played ad nauseam.

They may entertain, even inform, but also contribute in destroying certain delicate balances that hold society together.

Of course, it is all in the spirit of the freedom of expression/media, but as the NIC report has pointed out, the effect of this cacophony is difficult to access; we can only hope and pray that the proverbial tragedy of throwing away the baby with the bath water does not catch up with us.