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Dealing With The Media In Ghana – What Some Politicians Don’t Know

Fri, 22 Oct 2010 Source: Sangaparee, Clement

Dealing With The Media In Ghana – What Some Politicians Don’t Know

We are practicing multi-party Democracy in Ghana and multi-party democracy is about DIFFERENCES, it is about different choices, it is about people’s right to belong to different political parties.

It is rather unfortunate that we live in a continent where governments do everything in their power to WEAKEN, INTIMIDATE and eventually KILL OPPOSITION PARTIES IN ORDER to perpetuate themselves in power for DONKEY YEARS. We often have some overzealous government functionaries who HARASS OPPOSITION politicians WHEN THEY EVEN MAKE HARMLESS POLITICAL STATEMENTS which have no political value in essence. This is AFRICA for you. I visited a farming community at Abofour at the Offinso District in the Ashanti Region immediately before the Presidential-RUN OFF after December 7, general elections 2008.

There was a heated debate OVER PRICE INCREASES and it’s EFFECTS on the ordinary people. Some of them stated that they did not care about fuel price increases because they have no cars or motor bikes - I told them that they must care because it was wrong for them to say that since the High Price will affect the prices of everything in this country including Yams, Cassava, Rice, Plantain, Building Materials and even bottled drinks including pito, palm wine and “Adoka”. No sooner have I left the scene than my political opponents arrived there with their Sweet Music entitled “Nana is A Winner”. I infiltrated their ranks and they told the ignorant rural folk that if they voted for Mills, it was a vote for Rawlings and that Rawlings was a “murderer” and they distributed several pictures of the AFRC era in 1979 – further saying that it was Rawlings who insulted western governments and they refused to give Ex-President Kufour‘s NPP government loans for development projects. I waited patiently until they left the place at 4:30pm to another village and I also told the Odikro to invite the people to come together for me to further explain the meaning of those AFRC pictures to them. I told them that Rawlings was NOT campaigning for himself or his wife bur for the then candidate Mills. I again told them that Rawlings NEVER killed ANYBODY on June 4, 1979 and I invited questions from the crowd. Some NPP supporters told me that I was deceiving the people adding that since Rawlings was the Head of the State in 1979, he ordered the killing of Afrifa, Acheampong, Akuffo, Felli, Otuka, Amedume etc. I exercised patience before cutting in to also ask the people another question. Will the NPP members agree with me that it was Ex-President Kufour who ordered the military and police to go to Yendi and kill the “Ya Naa and 40 innocent sub-chiefs in 2002 as well as the late Alhaji Molbilla since he was the President of Ghana in March 2002? Come and see – they were dead silent and so my argument and whatever I told the farming community was up held and it went down well with them and it was transferred into massive VOTES for the NDC with the slogan – “If Rawlings Actually “Killed” some few military officers in 1979, then Ex-president Kufour also “Killed” 41 innocent sub-chiefs including Ya Naa at Yendi”.

If Ex-president Kufour was not responsible for any killings then Ex-president Rawlings too was NOT responsible for ANY killing on June 4, 1979 and the 31st December Revolutions period and the matter was put to rest since my brilliant comparison dazed the NPP members and it carried the day.

THE MEDIA

A good journalist is more likely to get MORE ENEMIES than FRIENDS in making an objective or balanced assessment of people in positions of trust – especially government appointees including ministers of state. The traditional role of the media is to inform and report the facts without fear or favour since the TRUTH IS rarely objective and difficult to establish. The media INTERPRETS and comments and varying opinions are the life blood of society and good governance. The significance of views varies and as such, it is HIGHLY DESIRABLE that all points of views are reported which are unfortunately ABSENT in Ghana. We have two major political parties in the country notably the NDC and the NPP and we have pro-NPP FM stations and their numerous newspapers while we also have the pro-NDC newspapers with only two FM stations in Ghana which is too bad for the Ruling Government. I don’t know when the NDC government will also sit up and support the private media to champions its course to become vibrant. A dishonest press to which TRUTH IS UNKNOWN and whose main occupation is the fabrication of irresponsible and libelous information is a very serious LIABILITY to any country.

POLITICIANS AND MEDIA INTERVIEWS

When dealing with the media, you have to be an extremely conscientious listener. Whether in a press conference or a one-on-one interview, you simply have to give your undivided attention and answer questions from the journalist. Even though you may know more about the subject under discussion than the interviewer, never adopt a superior attitude. You must be honest during such an interview. Journalists often have strong opinions and you can rarely win an argument with a person who owns the microphone. Whenever you are around journalists, you must always know that their microphones are live, their cameras are running and notes are being taken even if it looks like they are not. Most politicians forget that the journalist has nothing to lose by interviewing them, BUT THEY and those THEY represent could lose a lot by what THEY say or how THEY say it. It is also necessary to consider in effect that you are speaking to thousands of people with various views and interests and you must modify your message accordingly and this is what some politicians DON’T KNOW.

Aluta Continua

Clement Sangaparee

Municipal Organizer

United Cadres Front

C/O Box 32, Obuasi

E-mail: clementsang@yahoo.com

Distribution

All Media Houses

Accra

Columnist: Sangaparee, Clement