General News Tue, 20 May 2003

Section Of The Media Are Now "Guard-Dogs"

Alhaji Muhammed Mumuni, the National Democratic Congress for Kumbungu in the North has said that instead of the media playing its role as “watchdogs” over government and the society, some sections of the media have become “guard-dogs” of the ruling Government.

Such a relationship, the MP said, is bad and cannot be said to be acceptable of the media as the Fourth Estate of the Realm. Hon. Mumuni was contributing to a statement made by Hon. S.C. Buor Karikari, MP of Amansie West, on World Press Freedom Day.

Drawing an analogy, Hon. Mumuni said just as it is true that the grass suffers when two elephants fight, the grass suffers also in the case where two elephants make love – apparently referring to his position that some sections of the media are sharing bed with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and that does not auger well for the on-going democratic practice.

According to Mumuni, the frontiers of democracy need to be pushed further forward since there remain some laws, such as the contempt of court which has the capability of limiting freedom of speech, still on our statute books.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Justice and also MP for Sekondi urged the media to be responsible in the execution of their responsibility. The AG explained that the seeming friendly relationship that exists between the ruling Government and the media is the result of the Government’s readiness to listen to issues raised by the media and also the eagerness to address such issues. He explained that the law: Contempt of Court is part of the arsenal the courts have in regulating external intrusion in the judicial process.

Major (rtd) Samuel K. Amponsah, MP of Mpohor Wassa East, commended the media for the work they are doing. According to him, the current fake currency issue had been brought to the notice of the public by the media. He said the media should do well to go to the rural areas to inform those there about social and political issues that affect them.

Hon. Buor Karikari commended the Ghanaian media for their role in moving the Ghanaian society forward, and international media organisations like BBC and CNN “for making the world a small place to live in”.