I’m ‘Don King’: If you respond to my insults ......
with insults, I’ll sue you!!!
During my days in England, my best newspaper was The Sun. Life in that country was a bit boring because it was all about work, work and work without much time to even enjoy the little savings one has made. And for this reason, The Sun newspaper that always concentrates its attention on swoops on celebrities became a source of relief after a hard day’s work.
But what used to happen very often with my purchases was that the papers were always taken away by my colleagues at work and I often return home without them after work. In effect, they wanted to read the paper but always preferred using money for that purpose on cigarettes.
This sun newspaper which is the largest circulated tabloid paper in the United Kingdom is one of the lots from the stable of the Australian born American media mogul, Rupert Murdock.
Now, recently there have been revelations that some staff members of one of Mr. Murdock’s newspaper stable, The News of The World, have actually been engaging in unlawful acts of phone-taping. Operation focus of The News of The World was in the area of prowling into life-styles and often very intimate affairs of the rich and powerful.
This mission of the paper was pursued with ruthlessness and people really clamored for copies to be informed about what was latest in town about a drug habbit,broken marriage,sex scandals and so, of a powerful celebrity. I actually bought my first copy of that paper on one weekend in the summer of 1998 at the Euston station en-route from my base in Milton Keynes to visit a cousin at Stoke-Newington in West London. The leading story of that edition of the paper was about the story of Andy Cole and Dwight York, both Manchester united football club players at the time, and their threesome sexual escapades with a 19-year old Caucasian British girl.
The girl in question actually got herself in that act with those two footballers with an intension to sell the story to the newspaper in what is normally referred to in the western world as “kiss and tell”. The girl told the paper how she and the two footballers got heavily drunk by gulping various types of expensive wines at Andy Cole’s mansion and had endless sessions of ‘bedmatic’ antics with them till the break of dawn. She described how the three of them staggered back naked, to the garage to get some more bottles of wine after what was in the house had been consumed.
Now, when the business industry of Mr. Murdock was raking in billions of pounds through such scandalous revelations which were being sold to them, willingly, by some of the people involed, other innocent citizens going about their daily routines, unknowing to them, were victims of clandestine maneuverings by journalists of the paper to get stories to boost their sales.
And to achieve this, people’s phones were hacked into and their private conversations recorded for publication. This practice went on for decades until recently when the lid was totally blown off the illegal act and the culprit journalists exposed.
As a matter of fact, one of the editors of The News of The World paper that was embroiled in this entire scandalous phone-tapping saga was actually contracted by the current British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to undertake some consultancy services for him. So when the issue became very hot in the British media and the integrity of David Cameron was somehow called into question by his mere hiring of the services of the said journalist, he actually had to cut short a visit to southern Africa and rush back home to defend himself. This is the level of seriousness when it comes to journalists hacking into private phones of law-abiding citizens and recording their conversations for public consumption.
But here in Africa, in this case our nation Ghana, such a plain-faced criminality was engaged in with glee, by people who have today turned round to shout themselves hoarse because others are refusing to be insulted without hitting back.
In the heat of the second round of voting in the 2008 general elections, most government officials of the NPP administration had their phones hacked and very private conversations recorded and played back on Radio Gold. Personally, I was a victim even-though I had absolutely nothing to do with any political office. My phone conversations were clandestinely recorded and played back on Raymond Archer’s highly subversionist nighttime “election forensics” programme. An NPP official whom I was closely associated was making an arrangement to travel to Britain to be present at his younger sister’s graduation, had his phone conversation recorded and misrepresented on Radio Gold that the said official was trying to run out of the country with his ‘looted’ cash because the NPP was losing the elections.
We all know the owners of Radio Gold but no steps were taken by them to stop that absolutely reckless and atrocious infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens. Then candidate Atta-Mills who now claims to be Christ incarnate and that God is the president of Ghana, fully relished in that atmosphere of total recklessness by the likes of Raymond Archer, Kwesi Pratt, Roland Aquah-stevens, Okudztato-Ablakwa and so on.Okudzato-Ablakwah, at a point in time, actually sat in the studios of Radio Gold and declared that all our nation’s boarders had been closed. That was the extent of madness our dear nation witnessed in the heat of the 2008 elections. These same people used the studios of Radio Gold to call on NDC thugs to besiege the Electoral Commission with murder weapons forcing banks and other businesses to hurriedly shut down for fear of an outbreak of violence. Kufuor was described in all sorts of terms by these anarchist and at the close of day, these verbal abusers peacefully went home to their concubines, enjoyed their meals and all other things that came with it.
Those times, we never ever heard Atta-Mills expressing his abhorrence to the menace of political insults. Or the NDC has a monopoly over issues of foul language and that a pronouncement becomes an insult only when ii is fired in their direction?
We currently have on our hands a looming tsunami in the form of a suit against John Kumah of the NPP, over an alleged response to a provocation by Otokuno, a personality with a well-endowed dental arrangement and equally massive lower and upper lips.
John Kumah is facing a potential multi-trillion cedi suit for the ‘sin’ of firing back in retaliation, tomahawk cruise missiles to an incoming scad-missiles.This is a clear case of Russia getting uneasy over America’s plans to mount a protective shield in these former Baltic states who have abandoned a dead concept of communism and are now part of the European union, against potential missiles.
Effectively, these people who used their media outfit to denigrate Kufuor and every single member of his government, and also broadcast highly subversive materials and potentially explosive diatribes, are now saying after coming to power through this totally diabolic route, we must still sit aloof for them to continue insulting and holding us within the boundaries of their persistent verbal-flatulence. We are therefore expected to either sing them melodious songs or simply keep mute when they embark on insulting spree, and that, failure to adhere to their edict will result in lawsuits and our total incarceration.
The question is: will even sheikh sheriff Sheikh Akhmmed, the president of war-torn, famine ravaged and totally collapsed nation of Somalia, ever dream of gagging his people in this way?
And did I also hear the vice president says he is going to court over someone repeating an allegation made against him by someone from within his own party? I suggest he first advice these juveniles at the presidency and their horde of ‘chop-chop’ journalists who have actually built an industry around heaping of totally false allegations on Nana Addo.
Or could it be that the vice president and Nana Addo have blood and kerosene, respectively, running through their veins? Indeed, this is a clear case of “se etua woyonko ho a, etua duam”.
The truth is: we are practicing a democratic form of governance with a living constitution and functioning institutions. How then must anybody expect free and law-abiding citizens to send bouquets of flowers to plain-faced vagabonds who are under the chronic illusion of being the sole legends of foul language?
Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei