NPA, PR & The Basics

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 Source: The Herald


“I have practised journalism for 21 years. I edited Chronicle before. The things you have been writing, I have just called you to inform you that I will not issue a rejoinder to your story.”

Those are the words of a certain Stephen Larbi, who introduced himself as a worker in the Public Relations unit of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) when he telephoned our editor last Friday.

He was apparently calling in connection with a frontpage promo on Friday regarding how his boss, Alex Mould is not on top of issues in the sector.

We are shocked that a public relations officer would call a journalist only to inform him of the decision not to issue a rejoinder. Newspaper articles are not necessarily meant to provoke a rejoinder. Is it that people who ought to know do not know or what?

We need not be putting public relations and communications tips in the head of Mr Stephen Larbi. We on the Ghana Daily would like to remind Mr Larbi to quickly get his “old books” and read if he has forgotten the basics about his current job and journalism. It is unthinkable to have a public relations outfit which would not work to ensure that interviews are organized properly. What is the point in refusing to honour media queries about issues in the oil sector?

Mr Larbi’s reactions are at best banal and a total waste of time. Can he justify using paid telephone in the office to call a journalist and issue such an arrant non-starter. Indeed Mr Alex Mould would have to start rethinking of how to restructure his PR unit else he would be lost in the labyrinth of this ever developing arena of politico-communications and the public repercussions are very dire. If he has any concerns about our stories, he should go to the National Media Commission or to court immediately and stop wasting our ears.

Mr Larbi and his ilk should be thanking Prof Mills for allowing some of them to be working in his government. When he was at the Chronicle newspaper, they formed a media mob which was always pouring dirt and savagely attacking personalities of the then flagbearer of the NDC. It took the likes of Michael Dokosi of the National Democrat now Daily Post, Emmanuel Opare Djan and Abu Monor of the Democrat, Desmond Darko of the Catalyst, Winson Addotey of the Crystal Clear Lens, Kobby Fiagbe of the Ghanaian Lens, Peter Kojo Apisawu formerly of The Insight and a host of other hardworking and dedicated pro-NDC journalists to remove the dirt they smeared Prof. Mills with. People should not push us to the wall but we are ready to deal with any buffoonery.

Surely the basics of PR are missing at the NPA and Mr. Alex Mould better watch out; else he may find himself in a ditch one day.

Columnist: The Herald