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19.07.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: Ignorance Vs the Internet Revolution

Public Agenda

GBC TV's breakfast show is fast becoming a forum where ill-informed and self-styled media commentators go to exhibit their ignorance rather than educating the public.

Last Friday, the host of the Breakfast Show Kwame Waja exhibited the stuff he is made off when he down played the importance of a big corporation like GBC failing to update its website for five years.

In a story in the Friday edition, this paper drew the public's attention to the fact that five years after ex-President Rawlings left office, GBC's website still had him listed as the president of Ghana.

In his haste to nail Public Agenda and its editor, Kwame Waja did not read the story but went straight into attack. Nii Laryea Sowah, equally showed lack of insight into current affairs by trivializing the issue. If Ghana were a country where accurate information matters, the likes of Kwame Waja and Nii Laryea will never be allowed to exhibit their ignorance on national television.

Any journalists worth their salt, with insight into the uncontrollable nature of the internet, its reach and impact would not trivialize the Public Agenda story as the two did. How else could anyone justify GBC's failure to update its website since September 7, 1999? Can Kwame Waja and Laryea Sowah quantify the damage GBC's negligence could have caused the country simply because it failed to update its website.

What will tourists or members of the international community think of the country if they visited such a website and found wrong information dating back to 1999? It was a Ghanaian based abroad who visited the site and drew Public Agenda's attention to it. When we logged on (www.gbc.com.gh), we found the wrong information. If Waja and Sowah are honest, they should go into the website and tell their readers the truth.

Perhaps, it is only Waja and Sowah who see nothing wrong with GBC's failure to update its website for five years giving out wrong news to the outside world. Clearly, the two did not understand the fact that information is a commodity and to cover up for their shortcomings on the Internet and multi-media issues launched into tirades.

Contrary to Waja and Sowah's myopic views, public reactions from the more insightful and intellectual reviews on Joy FM, Peace FM, Choice FM, Metro TV and TV3 brought out the relevance of the story. Several callers to Public Agenda office expressed shock at the behaviour of the two.

For the sake of Kwame Waja and Nii Laryea Sowah, Public Agenda will do some education here to bring out the relevance of the story. Perhaps, they are the only 'journalists' who are yet to hear that due to the speed of the internet and its uncontrollable nature people from any part of the world can access information with the click of a button.

Through speed the internet has given other media the opportunity to develop additional revenue structure as well as driving readers to their broadcast networks and vice versa. Overtime, it is emerging that radio, TV and the internet have become a symbiotic channel of packaging content for a globalised world. Many broadcasting organizations are now using cross-promotion between radio, TV and the internet to retain their audience.

That is why we view GBC's failure to update its website quite disturbing. All the major media organizations have acquired a significant stake in the internet business. Some studies have found that by the end of 1996, over 400 television and 1200 radio stations had launched viable websites. Can GBC boast of one?

BBC News Online has grown to become one of world's most visited websites, complementing the work of BBC TV and radio. That is what Ghanaians expect GBC to use the tax payers' money for. And that is why Kwame Waja and Nii Laryea Sowah and those who think like them should have seen the serious lapses GBC's website. After 70 years of broadcasting this is not the quality of analysis the public expects from GBC. Kwame Waja and Nii Sowah are doing a disservice to GBC. And that explains why the programme has lost its spirit.

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