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Opinion | Dec 6, 2018

Multimedia And Its Affiliate Radio And TV Stations Must Not Be Allowed To Cause Public Disaffection Against The Police Service

Multimedia And Its Affiliate Radio And TV Stations Must Not Be Allowed To Cause Public Disaffection Against The Police Service

For years, some elements in the media have been picking and targeting the police service in the name of journalism without adhering to their own principles of balanced, objectivity, fairness and accuracy in their reportage about the activities of the police service.

To these elements who have the pleasure to sit behind the console at their own conveniences, the Ghanaian police are nothing except full of bunch of thieves, criminals, corrupt officials and in most recent, they have started to frame the police as abusive and brutalising. To them, one criminal act of a police officer is generalised and interpretated to mean that every police officer is a criminal and this is what I call it stereotype journalism full of prejudices.

No matter how the police commit themselves to ideal values of dedication, sacrifice and commitments to make society safer through effective and efficient policing, these elements particularly the so called journalists at Multimedia and its affiliate radio and TV stations, will find a fault when it is obvious that the police needs to commended.

They have vilified and demonized the police and made the only public institution which has the sole mandate to protect lives and properties of Ghanaians to look very ugly in the eyes of the public with their constant framing of corruption and civilian brutalities about the police. This is very dangerous to enforcements of law and order and it is high time this picking and targeting journalism meant to discredit the police must stop.

Yes! The police may be guilty of the crimes that the media have been alleging against them but when a particular media conglomerate like Multimedia is on a grand scheme to cause public disaffection against the police, we need to worry a lot. Not only worry but we must also investigate to know the faces behind this grand agenda when have a politically polarised and heavily commercialised media landscape like that of ours.

The Ghanaian media landscape is not one that we rely upon and trust the media that they are doing a clean job in the interest of the public. They have their own parochial interests and that of their paymasters to protect so we need to scrutinise them very well to know their intent for satanising the police.

In Ghana, the media is loyal to their owners because the media industry is a cash cow where some interpreneurs and private individuals are heavily investing to enrich themselves but not necessarily for the common good of the society. Far from that.

No country in the world with a media model like ours has developed because the media is only sensational and not intelligent. They run sensational stories to cover up the crimes of their paymasters so we need to be very critical about the media and kind of content they put in the domain of the public.

With a media landscape like ours, you can never trust the media when it comes to ethical and standardised journalism aimed at developing the nation. No! There is always a grand scheme being machinated by the owners of media firms against some state agencies and certain individuals who are impediments on their way, thus they cannot realise their political and economic interests.

Sometimes, some wealthy criminals who have the control over the media can use the media for diversionary tactics to commit heinous crimes against the state so it is not ordinary if a particular media firm is constantly on the nerves of the police under guise of exposing rot and brutalities of the police.

The police have certainly made some positive impacts in the course of discharging their mandate and if the media ignore those positive impacts and rather use their airwaves to discredit the efforts of the police in maintaining law and order by constantly hammering on the negativities of the police, we should not rule out criminal intents of those faceless individuals behind such media firms.

If we do not take the right measures to halt this grand and mischievous agenda of Multimedia and its affiliate radio and TV stations, sooner than later, there will be spontaneous attacks on the police in public because the media had succeeded in making the public to believe that the police is not there to protect them but rather to brutalise them. We have already had some sporadic attacks on the police resulting in vandalisations of police stations and injuring of some police officers so we cannot allow the media to go on that dangerous tangent to whip public sentiments against the police all the time.

The media is a powerful agent for growth and development that can partner the police service particularly in times that the police service is on an agenda to transform itself. The media can also be very destructive through picking and targeting journalism and so we have to be very worried when the media begins to frame the police to be abusive and brutalising civilians for no just cause. That kind of journalism is never healthy to the growth and development of the nation.

The liberal model of media is the most dangerous type if it is not properly managed and that is what happened when Radio -Television Libre des Mille Collines- RTLM was allowed to spew inciteful and hate speeches till such a time that the Hutus picked arms and massacred some one million Tutsis during the Rwanda genocide.

Ordinarily, some of the Hutus who wouldn't have taken part of the massacre did take part because the media succeeded making them to believe that the Tutsis are their enemies with their constant framing of the Tutsis as Cockroaches which deserve to die. At least some one million Tutsis were reportedly exterminated in the Rwandan genocide due to recklessness of some journalists who decided to abuse the power of the console.

A young man of 29 years recounted how the media made him to fear and was forced to take part in the killing of the Tutsis because the media had constantly framed Tutsis to be enemies of the Hutus. He killed at least 15 people due to the hate and inciteful speeches being churned out by the media particularly, Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines -RTLM. The influence of the media is unimaginable so let us be very careful if a particular media firm is constantly projecting the police to be abusive and brutalising.

We are where we are today because the media has pitched the police against the public and that is very dangerous since it can result in reprisal attacks on the police so we should not watch unconcern for Multimedia and its affiliate radio and TV stations to hatch this theory of conspiracy against the police. The net effect is more than saying the story of those who have been brutalised by the police because it create public disaffection against the police in the long.

The media is a powerful tool that can bring any organisation down on its knees through their agenda setting and framing theories so we have to be very careful if the media is on agenda to frame the police service as an organisation which brutalises civilians on unjust grounds. By and by, the media will succeed in creating enmity between the police and the very public that the police ought to protect will lose confidence in the police.

It is admitted and evidently clear that the police service has had it wrong many times in the course of discharging their mandate of maintaining law and order but is it the best that the media can do by trying to pitch the public against the police?

If police indeed have actually brutalised and in some cases killed some supposedly innocent people in the course of discharging their mandates, is this the best that Multimedia can do? If the police have gone wrong in that aspect what is the role of the media in righting the wrongs of the police? To cause public disaffection against the police because they have control over the airwaves? No! Multimedia can do better if indeed, they intend to run a documentary on police brutalities.

The role of the media primarily is to educate, inform and entertain. The watchdog role of the media is very critical by keeping eagles eye on the operations of the police which is resulting in the brutalising of the public, the very people that the police have sworn oath to protect them and their properties at the peril of their lives.

Whereas the media is performing its watchdog role to put the police in check, the media again ought to use its role of educating the public to educate the citizenry on their civil rights and what they ought do to avoid police brutalities.

The media should role out productive police friendly programmes where an opportunity is given to both the police and the public to interact than to pitch the public against the police which will have a dire consequences for the whole nation as far as maintaining law and order is concerned.

Is it only civilians who have been brutalised? The police have also received reasonable share of civilian attacks on the police with impunity. How do we reconcile that? What role is the media particularly Multimedia and its affiliate radio and TV stations doing in educating the public about the net effects of attacking and vandalising police stations?

What about police officers who have been rendered incapacitated whilst discharging their duties and left to fate? What about wives and dependants of police officers who have died in line of duties and their families have been disintegrated due to economic hardships because their source of livelihood have been killed in the course of protecting the same public that the media is making them to believe that the police is only there to brutalise them?

The nation is at risk if the media is allowed to constantly frame the police to abuse and brutalise civilians. It is a threat to law enforcements because the public will begin to see the police as enemies but not friends who are there to protect them and when that happens, we will all be consumed including the media.

There is a productive way to handle this and that is for the media to be very instrumental in increasing public confidence in the police and trust me that the brutalities are likely to be reduced completely.

Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III [email protected]


Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III 
Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III , © 2018

This author has authored 25 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: AhantaApemenyimhenebaKwofieIII 

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