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Opinions Wed, 5 Dec 2018

As If We Weren't Humans', A Media conspiracy theory Being hatched by Multimedia to discredit the police

If there is a media platform which is constantly on the agenda of discrediting the police service and their efforts of maintaining law and order in this country, it is no other than Multimedia and its affiliate radio and TV stations.

The current documentary dubbed "AS IF WE WEREN'T HUMANS" being aired by Joynews is another needless and sensational journalism aim at discrediting the police and deepening the woes of the 21 police officers who have been indicted in the Zongo 7 shootings considering the timing.

Most of these guys at multimedia particularly joynews try to equate proficiency in English language to standardised journalism and quality media practice but there is a clear-cut difference between someone who sits on TV or radio station to speak proficient and impeccable English and a trained journalist or a media practitioner.

It could also be that they are trained but have thrown the values of responsible journalism to dogs per their political affiliations and economic interests. I don't want to talk about ethics and morality in journalism and media practices in Ghana.

The only reason why these guys who are sometimes "raw" in the subject areas that they intend to discuss on radio and TV stations get away with it, is the fact that Ghana has low levels of media literacy rates. Ghanaians do not have the skill to probe their style and the content they put in the public domain so they abuse the power of the console when there is a guiding principles about how irresponsible journalism wrecked Rwanda.

In my studying Sociology of Journalism, this is what Dr. Ebo Afful of GIJ said, "we don't need a media which is vibrant and create needless sensations all the time. No! We need an intelligent media which can bring out the issues which bother on the growth and development of the nation. The Ghanaian media seemed to have missed the point in that aspect".

The above quote is from my lecturer at Ghana Institute of Journalism- GIJ who taught me Sociology of Journalism at the Masters level. He is a famous lecturer at GIJ. Many journalists and media practitioners who passed through the four walls Ghana Institute of Journalism - GIJ, couldn't have missed his tutorials. From undergraduate to graduate levels, he would certainly handle you in a course along the way. He is damn good at the Sociology of Journalism and makes the class lively anytime he comes to lecture on Mondays.

There is no single day that we don't debate when he comes to class. He sometimes has to veto the debate by virtue of his power as a lecturer since we have a course outline to follow and a deadline to meet.

The debate heightened the day he taught us the Ghanaian media landscape, the kind of media models and the type of journalism we practice in this country.

That is when you will realise that Ghana as a country is not likely to develop and progress from our current state until we have journalists and media firms which are very responsible in their reportage riding on the principles of objectivity, fairness, accuracy and balanced.

Until such a time that we an intelligent media which have the capability and the capacity to bring out developmental issues based on the needs of Ghanaians, we will continue to wallow in this state of underdevelopment for a very long time.

The current Ghanaian media landscape is politically polarised and heavily commercialised.

When the media landscape is politically polarised and heavily commercialised, the media miss the key issues in the public sphere and do not set the right agenda which bothers on the growth and development of the nation and Multimedia and its affiliate radio and TV stations particularly joynews are only experts in creating sensations in this country.

They lack the understanding and the capacity of some of the sensitive issues they sometime try to discuss on their network thereby misinforming the public in the end.

When the media is owned by politicians and business moguls, then we should know that media has nothing good to offer the nation than to propagate the political and economic philosophies of their owners. The media thus focus on the business and the political needs of their owners because it has become a private enterprise which has the objective to achieve political and economic goals. When that happens, the media becomes unreasonably sensational at less developmental issues to cover up on their watchdog roles and that is exactly what Joynews is doing with their so called documentary dubbed "AS IF WE WEREN'T HUMANS"

The media then become experts in what Prof. Francis Kasoma described in his Afriethics as finger-pointing journalism and in Ghana here, the biggest victim of this finger-pointing journalism is the Ghana Police Service.

This law enforcement agency of Ghana has a very battered image largely through the media framing of corruption and civilian brutalities particularly by the Joynews and their affiliated multimedia news network. This is leading to wanning of public confidence in the police service which has the sole mandate to protect lives and properties of Ghanaians including the media.

The media is constantly at war with Ghana Police Service for whatever reasons and some of us can only infer as one of the factors which is leading organised and mobilised attacks on some police stations and police officers by some members of the society in some communities across the country.

"AS IF WE WEREN'T HUMANS" is only reasonable when one concludes that the intent for that documentary is to whip public sentiments against the police service particularly when the committe that investigated the Zongo 7 shootings indicted some 21 police officers who executed the operations that led to the death of the Zongo 7 at Asawase in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

One can also reasonably conclude that Joynews and its affiliate multimedia platforms are paying back at the police service because of Latif, a reporter who has had a fractured skull as a result of alleged police brutalities when he went to the police headquarters to cover a story after the arrest of Koku Anyidoho, the former deputy general secretary of the NDC.

These kind of journalism is not productive and developmental because its reduces public confidence in the police and demoralises police officers who risk their lives to brace the storm despite inadequate resources to ensure that our society is safe from crime. Many police officers have lost their lives through that venture and lot more have been rendered incapacitated because they placed their lives on line for Ghanaians but the media never appreciate that.

Just last week, the police service held a memorial service at Tesano for its members who died in line of duties and among the dignitaries who attended the programme was H. E Nana Akuffo Addo. The programme was a solemn one which was filled with emotions as surviving dependants on the departed police officers wept uncontrollably but the media as usual failed to report it. In the course of that very week, every media platform reported the story of a police sergeant who was caught on CCTV stealing a phone at Marina Mall.

If the media succeed in their agenda of reducing public confidence in the police by constantly framing the police to be corrupt and brutalising civilians unjustifiably as joynews and its affiliate multimedia network are doing currently, then the media is rather doing nothing than to promote a lawless society where no one is safe.

The last thing Dr. Ebo Afful taught us was media literacy and he said it is a skill to analyse the media content by the citizenry. He also cautioned against consuming media contents hook, line and sinker because the media can be very deceptive at times particularly when there seem to be no control in regulation in ethical standards of journalism and media practice as the case of Ghana may be.

"AS IF WE WEREN'T HUMANS" is a journalism of victimisation aimed at victimising the victims who are to be inquisitioned and the timing is very right for Multimedia and their media conspiracy theories to wan public confidence in the police.

Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III


Columnist: Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III