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Opinions Sun, 20 May 2018

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Assault on media personnel peril to Ghana’s democracy and national development

In modern times people are connected than ever before because of the fast interconnections of the media. Most especially the electronic media is fast in the dissemination of information within the shortest period.

Ghana’s young democracy has also been helped by the activities of the media, especially over 300 newspapers and 147 private FM stations operating throughout the country. While the PNDC government did not encourage a pro-democracy political culture (Haynes, 2003).The establishment of media houses is increasing and they do not only create employment but play a critical role in upholding our democracy which enhances national development.

This paper discusses the extent to which Ghana’s liberal democratic process and national development is being consolidated, focusing on the role and contribution of the media and how the regular assaults on personnel of the media endanger Ghana’s democracy and national development if this frequent and reoccurrence problem is not stopped.

In recent time there have been series of assaults against media personnel, however, there have been huge condemnation of this act but it seem not to stop. We continue to look on helplessly as media personnel are assaulted each day by people who play vital role in our democracy and national development. Politicians should see the media as their tool to reach the citizenry (see Adom fm reporter looked like onion seller; Hajia fati defends slaps.ghanaweb.com 7th May 2018) Ghana has been exhorted as the beacon of democracy in Africa and one of the best place for business development because of its peaceful nature. In addition Ghana is described as one of the fastest growing economy not because it’s been able to organize successive elections but also the crucial role of the media in ensuring that all these attributes are not drag to the mud by government and the citizenry.

The media serve as a link between the government and the people. Democracy and national development is possible when citizens participate in the governance process. The media provide the avenue or linkage. Continues assaults on media personnel discourage that drive them in the performance of their duties. Then the government and its institution will be incapable of performing its crucial functions of protecting our young democracy and ensuring national development.

The media also serve as a check on government and Public institutions. As the fourth realm of the state it serve as a check on the organs of government. It is often said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and power in the hands of individual leads to dictatorship. The media watch over the executive, legislature, and judiciary. The media ensure that they do not abuse their powers and safeguard the democratic principles stipulated in the constitution. In recent times the media do not only report but conduct investigations into the activities of governments and its organization especially in areas of procurement and corrupt practices of officials. For example, Gadzekpo (2008) notes that as a result of media investigations and reportage, the NPP government in 2002 abandoned the attempt to raise $1 billion loan from the International Finance Consortium, a company considered to be of doubtful credential. (see Anas Uncovers 34 judges in corruption 8th September 2015.Ghana to lose gh7 Million over sale of contaminated fuel ghanaweb.com 22nd June 2017).

This and many more is evidential that the media serve as a watch dog on government and public officials to ensure that our recourses are use judiciously and not be enjoyed by only the few privilege in public service Furthermore, the media; radio stations, televisions and newspapers provide enormous information about governance and help the general population to understand the agenda, manifestoes of the political parties and their candidates .

In addition, they have raised the level and means through which the citizens of Ghana can be involved in the political process, allowing citizens to participate in issues of importance to them as well as holding government accountable for its actions. This all deepen our democracy to ensure national development.

Nevertheless, the situation is far from perfect. Despite the important role of the media the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, some vocal journalists complain of anonymous threats and phone calls, secret trailing, character assassination and stifling of business apart from the physical assaults.

(See; Kwaku Baako receive death treats www.ghanaweb.com 18th MAY 2018.)

In conclusion, the media play important role in upholding our democracy and ensuring national development. The media is the voice of the voiceless in the society if there is continues assaults on the media it endangers the basic tenets of democracy such press freedom, rule of law and promote arbitrary rule. Assault on media personnel should be condemned and culprits must face the law this will strengthen and consolidate our democracy and promote national development.

nanasarpong389@gmail.com

Columnist: Nana Akwasi Sarpong

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