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General News Fri, 23 Jul 2010

The Media And National Interest

Any time Ghana's interest is on the line, a section of the media senses an opportunity to get rich quick and consequently, position themselves as agents of foreign interest. This abuse, of a right that we must safeguard, is a danger to our national interest.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the interest of some of our media practitioners run counter to the interest of the nation that they must defend as citizens and the so-called fourth estate of the realm. The problem is compounded by the fact that they use lies and half truths to manipulate public consent.

Evidence to this abounds in the IFC loan saga when government was going to issue a sovereign guarantee for the so-called IFC loan.

While a section of the media was trying hard to throw light on the fraudulent deal, another group of media practitioners were so vociferous spinning fabrications and half-truths in their defence of the deal until finally it blew up in their faces.

The same incident was replayed when the CNCTI loan saga presented these fiendish media gurus with the opportunity to redeem their soiled image.But with the same modus oparandi by the same media group, the nation was led-on and on until that also proved to be a wild goose chase by governenment.

During the sale of government of Ghana’s Blue Chip shares in Ashanti Goldfields, the same section of the media that are inclined towards positioning themselves as agents of foreign interests were divided between Anglogold and Rangold, foreign entities that were seeking to control Ghana’s gold. The media men who supported Anglogold were jetted to South Africa, where it was alleged that fortunes were expended on them in hotel bills, shopping adventures as well as per diem. The recent Goldman Sachs scandal has exposed how Ghana was swindled in the Anglogold deal.

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It has become common knowledge in the country that companies and various personalities in Ghana have been dolling out huge sums of money to certain media houses as well as some morning show hosts to kill 'negative' stories that come to their notice.

These beneficiaries carry out their 'gate-keeping' roles for companies and individuals without any sense of shame or patriotism, as the Media Commission looks on helplessly.

The question is why does the country allow the negative use of an important freedom to persist? We have not learnt our lessons yet, because currently, there is another war being waged against Ghana’s interest by this same section of the media in support of Kosmos to sell its 25% shares in the Jubilee fields only to ExxonMobil, in spite of government’s express intention to buy at fair market value.

Clearly, there is the need to regulate the media so as to protect the public from manipulation and lies. Our constitution guarantee for media freedom was to ensure that the media will serve the public's interest, not otherwise.

Media men who wish to act as agents of business interests must be made to register as such. They must not be allowed to pass off their Public Relations(PR) greed on behalf of their ' clients' as a service to the Ghana.

The public interest is supreme at all time as such must be protected against these media shacks or any other opposing interest.

Source: The Talk
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