I read somewhere that the media in Ghana ‘have gone to bed’ with politicians. The opinions out there question the inability of the media to regulate ‘the foul language and hate speech’ the politicos use on their medium and attribute that inability to the fact that the media is pursuing the agenda of political parties.
Even though that comment made me laugh hysterically, upon closer scrutiny of the words I think there is some underlying truth.
In Ghana there’s no clear distinction between a political party and media house (that’s my opinion). We have majority of media houses in this country being divided along party lines. Can we deny that?
In order to push their political agendas, political parties use their affiliated Media houses and these sometimes go to the extreme. I honestly think that the media’s affiliation to a particular political party, blinds them and they lose all sense of objectivity. And for me that’s where the danger lies.
When moderators or show hosts are not capable of telling their political guests ‘this is it. You have cross the limit, I am putting you off air and out of the studio’. What is their used then? Sadly that’s how far the media have come.
Since a particular political party bankrolls a certain media house, party communicators can just walk in and run their mouth on their airwaves with every kind of absurdities without censure. Show hosts or presenters just sit in and look on with helpless abandon. What is even more frightening, is when these hosts themselves engage in the absurdities.
How can somebody (presenters/show hosts) who has gone through journalistic training and have read the ethics of journalism condescend to that level? How come our learned journalists can be made to play such a role as using the airwaves to propagate the ignorance and egoistical character of politicians?
Or is it that the media training in Ghana is not adequate? I won’t subscribe to the media training not being adequate, because we have seen very prolific journos who have risen to international prominence and have received their trainings right here in Ghana.
So what seems to be the problem? How can we sanitize our airwaves? I believe the general public’s trust in the media being the fourth estate of the land is dwindling very slowly. And if this continues like this there is a fatal annotation to it. If indeed politicians have gone to bed with the Media who then put them in checks?
In several jurisdictions, the media have prevented abuse of human rights and have advanced agendas that promote the welfare of the ordinary citizens. Ghanaians have always hyped their freedom of speech and their free media landscape, however if being free means being unable to put people, especially the politicians in check then I fear for our young democracy in the not too distant a future.
Indeed all the authorities involved in the regulation of the media landscape; the National Media Commission and the likes must sit and crack the whip when they need to. Somebody must put back some civility and professionalism on our airwaves.