By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Folks, the media scene in Ghana is dominated by mediocrity, which explains why just anybody at all can set up an FM station or establish a newspaper hub and use it for whatever purpose. If that is what democracy entails (by way of freedom of speech, so be it; bit it is not what a democracy such as ours in Ghana needs to grow. It saps energy from the democracy instead of providing the nourishment it needs to grow proportionally).
Over the years, many media houses have opened their doors to all manner of people to air their views through them without any stern action being taken to control the situation. The FM stations and Kokompe newspapers that have sprung up since Rawlings liberalized the media scene to date are known for their notoriety as such. They publish anything and get away with it.
Kufuor and Akufo-Addo may be congratulating themselves for abolishing the criminal libel law; but the implications are clear, especially within the context of the numerous legal suits regarding libel and others on slandering that have either been turned into a political game of sorts or are just been knocked about for whatever reason.
Why am I going this far? It is simple. The fate of the Montie Three seems to have created the impression that the culprits are the worst offenders on the media scene, which is not true. Now that they have been tackled by the Supreme Court, almost everybody seeking to bash them has found a straw to hang on to. A publication by the Daily Guide newspaper says that "convicted radio show host Salifu Maase aka Mugabe, once attacked the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II.
Another audio recording of his afternoon political talk show, ‘Pampaso’ on Montie FM – which has become notorious for broadcasting hate speeches and remarks as the December 7 general election draws near – has popped up and in the said recording, Mugabe is heard insulting the Okyenhene without any reservation." (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Mugabe-attacks-Okyenhene-460769).
Dirty politics at its worst level.
What has this misguided Daily Guide newspaper not said about prominent Ghanaian personalities (e.g., Jerry Rawlings, Atta Mills, John Mahama, or others not seen as supporters or sympathizers of the fuzzy and stale political cause that Fraudie Blay and his wife, Georgina Blay, have used this gutter newspaper to project)? More importantly, what hasn't the Okyenhene himself said to create a negative impression about him? He is on record for all the negative public utterances that he has made.
How many of those insulting President Mahama as a thief have been dragged on the rough road by him? They are all over the place, abusing him without his reacting to put them where they belong. He is too tolerant and accommodating, which makes a huge difference between him and all others. Despite the enormous powers that he wields, he hasn't deigned to invoke any to deal with those bad-mouthing him at will just because they think that our kind of democracy shields them.
Probably, his over-accommodating nature is what has created the misleading impression that he is weak and incompetent. After all, no Ghanaian Head of State has soaked up so much needless damnation from his political opponents as he has done. I commend him for being so. Even this very Okyehene has undermined him in many ways but he has maintained his cool.
But let someone poke the Okyehene's rib for whatever reason, and he is out to behave as if he is untouchable in public discourse about governance. Was he not the very person who imposed a hefty fine of 72 rams and bottles of Schnapps on one of the Akyem royals who dared point out his wrongdoing or failures?
Or was he not the very person who took on President Mahama for commenting on the free-for-all "galamsey" going on the Akyem Abuakwa area only to top it up with his derisive comment that the government's boasts of building roads in his domain didn't warrant any support? Even after he had earlier toured his area to complain about the bad state of roads? What sort of character is he?
So, what is wrong if he is taken on? Those who don't want to be taken to the cleaners should ensure that they don't muddy themselves first or that they clean the dirt on them before stepping out of their closets to be noticed.
Maybe, the Reggae musician (Peter Tosh) says it better: If you live in a glass house, don't throw stones; and if you can't take blows, (brother) don't throw blows!! It is a simple commonsensical matter: Do unto others as you'd want them to do unto you. Anything other than that is non-sense!!
Probably, if those rising now to punish Mugabe and Co. had been alive to their responsibilities long before now, we would have had many casualties and seen/known better how to use the media for decent politics in Ghana.
I shall return…
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