Entertainment of 2014-08-28

The media is not as you think; at least in GH!

I love the media. I’m sure some of my brothers and sisters do as well. Why? Because there’s probably more power invested in the media than these political powers the same media tend to complain about.

In fact, the sight of people’s behavior when the media is around should in itself tell you, there’s something magnificent in the small microphone, that voice recorder, the video recorder, that 1980 still camera and of course your croaky voice.

But it’s ironic that some of my brothers and sisters in this reputable profession do not hold this assignment in such high esteem.

The decision of what goes on air, who goes on air or what goes on paper has a similar effect of which bullet a soldier uses or which missile a terrorist fires.

Have we forgotten that the media played a role in bringing Richard Nixon’s government in America down?

Have we forgotten that the war in Rwanda was sparked because the media had their judgment as to what to broadcast on air? And to come to Ghana, are we aware that Bawku can either be calm or violent based on how the media report issues? It’s amazing, the power we’ve got!

Journalist joins preachers as one of the most well placed professions that could change the lives of people across the globe. That small studio is a large pulpit that can change millions positively if we channel resources well.

It saddens my heart that when I tune in to news radio stations in the mornings, all I hear is ‘and NPP did that and NDC did that’. Oh, and this political person said this and that about the opponent. Ebeii?

Have we forgotten about the Agenda Setting Theory? I know people say politics like sex, sells.

But do we want to continue giving our microphones to these people who are well to do to the detriment of those we claim we want to help in holding these figures accountable?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about what I term ‘developmental politics’ where you hold people accountable with evidence. But I think the empty politics are way too much.

Much of what we do is basically a pre-boxing bout press conference where opponents shout obscenities to each other and make-up threatening frowns while thinking about the money they are just about to make.

So NDC says NPP is bad and then the media will call NPP - what’s your reaction?

At the end of the day, will this give classrooms to the children learning under trees?, will it stop this our annoying ‘dumsor dumsor’ in other words erratic power supply?, will it bring justice to that girl who has been defiled, pregnant and is out of school because probably her parents do not have a pesewa?,

Will it bring protection to that boy who’s, been sodomized and introduced to something he never dreamt of and probably has been infected with HIV? Will it improve our healthcare systems? There are so many questions I cannot ask here.

But sometimes I’m tempted not to blame my brothers and sisters so much in this great ‘calling’ especially when their employers decide to pay them peanuts after taking huge sums of money from advertisers.

It’s so embarrassing when you see the journalist; media men and women queue for money; what we term ‘soli’ in Ghana in the name of transportation fares. Why? Because their monthly salaries cannot travel the month.

Yet, the same employers would want their reporters to publish stories on how people are not paid or poorly paid in their various institutions. Clean your house before you tell others to do same.

I also remember one of my lecturers at GIJ say that when Ghanaian journalists mature, they become politicians. I don’t have a problem if journalists decide to be political but at least let people know. I know one journalist who has said he has leaned towards a particular party.

Even that person makes fair judgments most of the time. It gets on my nerves when we claim we’re neutral and yet stories that we help to publish indicate we belong to A or B party.

And then you have a state broadcaster that will almost always never show up early for programmes except they want to carry it live and so other media houses will always have to wait until almighty GTV is in. I thought media people were time conscious or?

I’ve also had the opportunity to sit in some editorial meetings for weeks in certain media houses. They always set their target to finish their meetings on time but they mostly or never finish an hour or two after their set time. They just break their time records almost on a daily basis.

We do stories and tell people to be conscious where they buy drugs but when companies that are probably not registered come to media offices to advertise their drugs or health products, we either never or mostly don’t run checks to find out whether they’ve been certified by the FDA or the Standards Authority.

The media are interested in their monies. Who are we helping?

When these annoying telcos are misbehaving with their incompetent and poor services, media won’t talk because we’ll lose our clients, and these telcos are taking us for a ride. Real ride.

Can you imagine? As for this one, I’ll say it. Do you know that in the heat of this cholera debate on our airwaves, I saw a TV journalist buying porridge from the main gutter at Nima in Accra? I won’t mention his name.

Yet, he and others will be writing and sitting on our TV screens and in our radio studios telling people to change their attitudes.

Media people help to preach that do not drink and drive. Yet, I’ve heard about a couple of media persons who died through car accidents because they were drunk whilst driving. Who are we deceiving?

The media - we are the very mirror for society but the very same mirror, we can barely look into without feeling guilty of hypocrisy.

Source: Beatrice Adu
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