Our Final Thoughts On Ghanaian Journalism 4

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Tue, 9 Dec 2014 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

Prophetic articulation, especially alarmist ones, coupled with religious demagoguery, ethnic-baiting, religious-political ethnocentrism, rabble-rousing, poses a severe threat to rational expressions of intellectual freedoms in respect of scientific, technological, and mathematical explication of the natural world. The rising tide of religious and political demagoguery is gradually gobbling up any sense of national stability. Religious fakery, together with its accompanying doctrinal shenanigans and timid gullibility of some human beings, has assumed a dangerous proportion of social entrenchment. And so, of course, our investigative journalists have a moral obligation to expose the unbecoming handiwork of these religious frauds for who they are. And for what they are.

The point, once again, is not to isolate any particular cultural institution for undue or excessive faultfinding. Notwithstanding that, merely calling for prayers, tongue speaking, and fasting to underwrite the epidemiological containment of anthropogenic-based diseases is morally irresponsible, therapeutically innocuous at best, definitionally the height of ignorance. That is not all, however. Most significantly, though, religious assault on two major secular Ghanaian industries, music and movie, by many a self-righteous Ghanaian men and women of God is untenably unscientific on several fronts, when, practically, Ghana, needs assortment of competent, experienced, and knowledgeable men and women of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology to handle the various challenges of her anemic industries and to resuscitate her technocratic decline, thus tailoring policy decision strategies to national development priorities.

This requires tactical collaboration between Ghanaians and their political representatives, a process partly mediated through educational reform, proactive institutional oversight, and responsible journalism. We have already dealt extensively with the first two save the third, of whose review faces an ongoing methodical oversight of critical discourse in our series on the subject. This is where analytic journalism, knowledge-based journalism, data-driven journalism, and scientific journalism come in! What do we mean generally? We mean to say that Nigeria’s movie industry (Nollywood), coming only after the United States and India in terms of volume of revenue generation and annual film productions, has contributed enormously to Nigeria’s economy, accordingly making it the biggest economy in Africa.

Then also, if the religious censorship of Ghana’s two secular industries is exclusively about the question of moral laxity, then, we have a major problem on our hands, for the church or mosque, religion for that matter, is not comparatively better on that score. Ideally journalists have a responsibility to trumpet the positive contributions religions make to society while decrying their retrogressive tendencies.

In fact both the religious and secular worlds passionately identify with the political alchemy of numbers and material prosperity. What do we mean exactly? The politics of numbers and its reflection on the sociology of economic opportunities. In other words, more souls proportionately translate to the volume of offering and tithing in the case of the Christian community on the social template of economic actualities. Likewise, secular actresses and actors and musicians also rely on the political power of numbers as definition of commercial patronage, of public success, of likeability, of self-importance. Lately Charismatic Churches have conveniently adopted prosperity theology rather than soteriology (salvation) for this very same reason. The additional fact of religious institutions’ not paying taxes on their for-profit ventures emboldens their leadership to see themselves as being necessarily above the social profile of secular animadversion.

The irony is that many gifted men and women, seemingly religious, who publicly identify with the social miasma of righteous hypocrisy, got their start in the secular world, as it were, of which religion is integral. Of course the reverse is equally true also, though neither contention deserves focal preoccupation in our present discourse. Significantly, science journalism and analytic journalism have the potential to override any unnecessary conflicts between the worlds of the secular, of the religious. In the main the antagonism, purely of human origination, between the two worlds results primarily from colonialism, partly from neocolonialism. Namely, any strict dichotomy between secular music, say palm-wine music or highlife, and gospel music is largely a functional legacy of colonialism. After all, Christianity and Islam came to African on the fluttering wings of colonialism.

Besides, gospel music is not indigenous to Africa although some historians largely attribute its origination to African-Americans. It implies also that the sheet music for gospel music, possibly a descendant of Negro Spirituals, represents a paradigmatic cultural graft on the autochthonous musicality of traditional Africa. However, it does not mean Africa lacked a resourceful repertoire of religious music for the listening ear of transcendence. Why then do we allow the strangeness of cultural externalities to tear us apart as a people, as a nation, as a continent?

It will, therefore, do the nation a lot of good if both worlds could agree to forge unity in the best interest of national organization, development and growth. Indeed, the contributions either world makes to Ghana’s GDP and society, overall, is more consequential than both leadership’s misplaced mutual recriminations and institutional antagonism.

What role does Ghanaian journalism have in reining religious demagoguery in? Leaders and owners and students of broadcast journalism must be particularly careful not to grant religious demagogues platforms to air their ignorance, moral elitism, shenanigans, righteous arrogance, miscomprehension of political economy, lies, and so on, ensuring unprintable language undergoes measured redaction in protecting public decency. These leaders and owners and students should ensure religion steers clear of politics if possible. That having been said, the Nigerian example should serve as a model for both worlds to emulate. Advancing the cause of national development and social organization should be a noble act of patriotism, should take precedence over matters of religious dictatorship.

And, of course, religion is an institutional member of the body politic, Ghana that is, admittedly, but it is not superior to the secular claims of constitutional nationalism. Hence, the best religion could do is to strive for peaceful co-existence with the body politic, Ghana, after all, political theology has its application limitations as far as anyone can tell!

Then it is important we realize, as a matter of public knowledge, that theocracy is not a creative formula for pluralism, tolerance, diversity, and so forth. Thus, Ghanaian journalism should advance quickly to accommodate science journalism, knowledge-based journalism, science communication, data-driven journalism, and analytic journalism in resisting any expression of theocracy, political or religious, in behalf of the public conscience. Ghana needs these forms of journalistic genres to actively promote science and technology and mathematics, to proactively expose and crush the social juggernaut of superstition and religious forgeries, man-made concoctions such as miracles, prophecies, visions, tongue speaking, etc, for the social juggernaut of superstition is not intelligent replacement for science, technology, and analytic thinking.

For how long can the Christian Church sell Michelangelo’s portrait to their church members as Christ’s portrait? This question is not merely a tongue-in-cheek metaphor. It is instructionally literalistic as well. Let us take note of this. Meanwhile, the aforesaid journalistic genres coupled with expanded scientific literacy and technocratic enlightenment may underwrite the mollification, or even deactivation, of the exegetical potency and gullible acceptation of doctrinal snake oil, for better, for worse. Finally, going back to one of our previous critical protestations against the politics of religious legerdemain, we argue further that, evidently, prophetic articulation and prophetic vindication are far from identical, as the strange coincidence between the recent publication of Nuruddin Farah’s latest novel “Hiding in Plain Sight” and his family among other things, eloquently demonstrate. The politics of religious and political artifice is big business.

What is the narrative import of all these? Farah forwards a copy of the first draft of the afore-mentioned novel to his publishers, after which Basra Farah Hassan, his favorite sister, gets killed in a Kabul restaurant, Afghanistan, in a terrorist bombing activated via Taliban orchestration. Perhaps a model case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As it happens Farah’s acute description of his sister’s terrorist death comes across as disturbingly as Aar’s, a novelistic depiction with a connotative epiphany of thematic familiarity. Aar is the book’s main male character (See Marcia Kaye’s “Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah: Review”; also listen to Farah’s Oct. 25, 2014 NPR interview). What is this, prophetic vindication or serendipitous coincidence on the part of Nuruddin? What is there to say about Nuruddin’s sheer narrative power of novelistic circumstantialism and stochastic underpinnings of chance occurrences?

These are questions that can, perhaps, be properly answered using the ready example of Ghana’s religious shenanigans. We could also add that the case we have been exploring with regard to the question of circumstantial parallelism floating about Nuruddin’s narrative power and familial happenings is not unlike Afro-English Chris Abani’s politically controversial novel “Masters of the Board,” a piece he published at 16 and ultimately got imprisoned for it, and yet unlike Ayi Kwei Armah’s “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born” and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s “Petals of Blood,” both powerful postcolonial narratives dealing with controversial currents of political and social events after their material eventuation. Thiong’o and Armah did benefit from the informational lighthouse of hindsight, Nuruddin does not, at least given the verifiable circumstances surrounding the latter’s family history, writing history, and Taliban social behavior conceived in the sacred womb of Political Islam vis-à-vis the chronology and location of his sister’s untimely death at the hands of bloodthirsty utopianists.

Nuruddin may thus be the Nostradamus of the African novel in our isolated exemplar, Armah and Thiong’o apparently not! Culture’s “Two Sevens Clash” and Bob Marley’s “Keep On Moving” readily come to mind. The prophetic power of Marley’s and Culture’s lyrical dialect and the narrative power of Nuruddin’s prosaic circumstantialism are palpably missing from the philosophical idiom of Ghanaian journalism. But what do we get when we make Nuruddin’s authorial pen T.B. Joshua, his blank paper Duncan Williams? The answer, hypothetical or not, defines the moral drift of our narrative contentions, meaning that both Joshua and Williams would probably have made a mountain out of a molehill if they had been in Farah’s auctorial shoes! Science journalism, science communication, analytic journalism, and knowledge-based journalism (See Thomas E. Patterson’s “Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism”) have no room for religious sentiments and uncritical thoughts.

“Facing a blank page is the bravest thing a writer does!” Farah admits in the said interview. Alas, the question of moral signification ascribable to the philosophical infrastructure of Nuruddinian “blank page” is exactly what Ghanaian journalism is conspicuously not. Ghanaian journalism is apprehensive about looking into the “blank page” mirror of moral innocence in possible anticipation of seeing its scarecrow mirror image of moral, theoretical, and technological antiquation. It may as well do the trick if Ghanaian parliament boldly faces the “blank page” of the Right to Information Bill, turning it into an authoritative enshrinement of constitutional oversight.

As a matter of factual emphasis, South Africa, Liberia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria have all passed various versions of the Freedom to Information Bill into law. Mozambique recently (Nov. 26, 2014) enacted its Freedom of Information Bill (See “Mozambique Assembly OKs Freedom of Information Law” on www.freedominfo.org). Such a law is needed to protect investigative journalists, muckrakers, immersion journalists, or whistleblowers.

What then is the Ghanaian legislature waiting for? Do Ghanaians no longer proudly see their country as a beacon of democracy? Could it be that her democratic imperialism is an impediment Essentially, Ghanaian journalists, like their counterparts in Liberia, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and other parts of the world, need prompt enactment of the Freedom to Information Bill. And more. And what is that, the orthographic appendage of “more”? Ghanaian journalists may also need a statutory instrument similar to America’s “Shield Laws,” so-called, to provide additional security to journalists in the special case of protecting their sources from divulgence under institutional or political coercion. This requires prompt passage of the Right to Information Bill. Unfortunately as it is the statutory affirmation of this Bill into law has been long in coming!

Accordingly, what Ghana presently needs to effectively rein in corruption in higher places are the statutory affirmations of these propositions in the body politic in addition to proactive surveillance from the National Bureau of Investigations (BNI), the executive, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the police service, the judiciary, and the Ghanaian parliament. In principle, a statutory chaperonage of the kind we are asking for should make immersion journalism, a practical strand of investigative journalism, at our seaports and airports, especially, possible. It is regrettably ironic to call upon abjectly corrupt institutions to lead the moral battle against the social entrenchment of corruption. We have no choice but to begin the fight in the belly of corruption itself!

The other most important question to place before the inquisitional lectern of public deliberation is simply this: Can the average Ghanaian journalist truly face the Nuruddinian “blank page” of objective truth, a seeming mirage of scientific verifiability? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, the burden of responsibility devolves upon Ghanaian journalists to make it publicly known that political office is merely electoral transliteration of the people’s franchise and that the mandate extended to political office is subject to the electoral dialect of cyclical recalls, either through popular revolt or through electoral rejection of incumbency at the polls. It goes without saying Ghanaian journalists, together with civil society organizations and public conscience, should hold politicians to account throughout individual’s political tenure spread across the social rhythm of these cyclical periods.

Sadly, there is so much irresponsibility, carelessness, elitist arrogance, intellectual shoddiness, misinformation, indecency, unprofessionalism, partisan emotionalism, and moral stupidity in the Ghanaian journalism industry, systemic provocations that could potentially throw the relative stability of the nation into chaos someday if not effectively positioned under the wheel chocks of self-correction. There are also too many conscious lies, fabrications, factual distortions, unguarded statements with negative national security implications and serious legal repercussions for privacy concerns, illegal secret recording of private conversations and doctoring of videotapes and audiotapes to spite potential and real enemies, a different inventory of systemic provocations that could equally destabilize national security priorities! Where is the righteous indignation against irresponsible journalism then? Why are talking heads and their empty rhetoric hijacking Ghanaian journalism?

Why are we consciously allowing tabloid journalism, celebrity journalism, and yellow journalism to destroy Ghanaian journalism? Could the problem have partly been the result of something larger that happened yesteryear, repeal of the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws?

We hope the National Media Commission (NMC), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Ghana Institute for Public Policy Options (GIPPO), Private Newspapers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), National Communications Authority of Ghana (NCAG), and civil society groups consider our proposals. The Ministry of Information, parliament, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), and Ghana Institute of Journalism could do the same as well. We should again ask these institutions, particularly Ghana Institute of Journalism, to consider teaching students in the theory and practice of war journalism and peace journalism. It is imperative we stress how crucial both genres are and how well-developed they are in the West. We equally need them in Ghana as well. Finally, there must also be a clear-cut delineation between statutory provisions in the Freedom to Information Bill and the ethical dynamics of open data. Ghana should examine the potential of multimedia journalism to solve social-political problems as well.

Our journalism students and practicing journalists need to understand the ethical, psychological, and moral scope of peace (pacifism, nonviolent philosophy) as well as of war, a move to sensitize journalists of every ideological stripe to possible correlations among ethnocentrism (ethnic nationalism), war, journalistic unprofessionalism, extreme political partisanship, social injustice, ethnic demagoguery, and national instability. Thus far, the moral of our narrative contentions make a beeline for wanting our journalists to be methodologically, intellectually, and philosophically circumspect in what they say, how they write, and what they write about. More fundamentally, we also want our journalists to be sensitive about the practical exigencies of diversity, diversity expressed in terms of ethnicity, political opinions, ideology, education, regionalism, and so on (See Molefi Kete Asante’s edited volume “The Global Intercultural Communication Reader”).

What is more, among other things, our journalists should make it a central point to expose the NDC’s laudable practical identification with ethnic diversity as opposed to the NPP’s entrenched political ethnocentrism, to decry the NPP’s meritocratic arrogance and condescending elitism toward the masses, to bemoan the NPP’s martial rhetoric, to disinvest the NPP of its dangerous schadenfreude politics, to hold the leadership of the NDC to its ideological attachment to the standard rhetoric of social democracy. Our journalists should also take it upon themselves to prod whichever political party, particularly the NPP, finds itself in opposition to provide constructive, proactive leadership rather than oceanic hypocrisies of political dirge, propagandistic nagging, and childishly empty all-knowingness. Most significantly, though, our journalists should be courageous enough to expose both parties’ well-coordinated thieving campaigns aimed at the gradual depletion of state coffers, to unearth both parties’ collusion targeted at the nation’s destruction, and, last but not least, to propose a third-party replacement for both parties as a strategic priority goal for shattering the monopoly of Ghana’s particracy on public conscience.

The ultimate objective here regards effective dissolution of the concrete ice of political corruption in the boiling water of social agitation via a third-party political organization that has never been sufficiently tested in the Fourth Republic on a credentialized profile of vigorously fighting the canker. Further, by conveniently spreading a blanket of silence over the spate of corruption and other social ills in the country, our journalists become complicit in the acts of moral perversion either directly or indirectly via a policy of condonation. Conspiracy or culture of silence has no place in the fight against corruption. Consequently, our journalists should play the titular intelligent, wise, courageous, proactive, and conscientious Okyeame (“linguist”) which society has graciously invested them with, moderating currents of conversations between the three branches of government and the masses on the one hand and the rest of the world on the other hand.

Yet this conversational moderation cannot be said to be socially and morally healthy if our journalism schools overlook what Philip Meyer calls “influence model” and precision journalism (See his book “Precision Journalism: A Reporter’s Introduction to Social Science Methods”). Precision journalism deploys information technology, experimental design, statistics and survey sampling, logistic and multiple regression, data analysis, communications technology, social science research methods, etc., to plumb social and political issues of enormous consequence to the public interest. The major problem we have in Ghana is that data collection is not a treasured art. Even where the art is economically practiced, it nonetheless encounters measured contestations as regards questions of data quality, reliability, verifiability, and reproducibility.

Also true is the easy tendency of Ghanaian journalists to uncritically and blindly invoke foreign ideas and legal precedents for comparative adoption, enactment, and enforcement in the country without due consideration given to their adaptable possibilities to local conditions. Probably a good, ready exemplar is the legalization of cannabis in parts of the world, specifically America.

Questions related to quality data, qualified psychiatrists and psychologists and nurses and other health professionals, psychiatric institutions and hospitals, effective and affordable treatment regimina and reliable treatment protocols, proper protocols for the physical and emotional and verbal handling of individuals who allegedly incur mental instabilities upon smoking cannabis, lack of cutting-edge laboratories, open discussions about superstition and cultural beliefs and religion and their assumed links to paranormal causation of mental disease states, addiction and security and quality control and legal implications of legalization, possible pharmacogenomic basis of illicit drug ingestion, and popular quality information on the potential harm and benefits of cannabis and other dangerous drugs are often conspicuously lacking in the narrative stewpot of topical inquiries bordering on Ghana’s unique national identity.

There is no gainsaying that public understanding of these complex issues can get progressively better with improved institutionalization of medical journalism, science journalism, science communication, and effective public relations strategies. The anthropogenic dimensions of disease burden needs understanding to improve public health. Expanding the social sphere of general literary and scientific literacy of the masses can also help. Thus, policy makers and institutional leaders cannot ignore the axiological relevance of data analysis and data collection, say biostatistics, to public health.

But unfortunately, for the most part, data analysis in Ghana is more of an emotional fixture of partisan political indulgence than of a critical scientific perquisition. Lack of institutional resources, privacy concerns, mass poverty, illiteracy, sparing telecommunication networks across the country, erratic power supply, insufficient hands with professional expertise in statistical methodology, inaccessible to impassible arteries, etc., add up to the statistical unconsciousness of Ghanaian society. Precision journalism, data journalism, and data-driven journalism are the obvious answer to Ghana’s dilemma on this score.

On a more serious note, Meyer’s ‘influence model” renders “soli” irrelevant and ethically suspect. Quite apart from Meyer’s “influence model,” it is the responsibility of employers to provide travel allowances to journalists to cover events. Freelance journalists and stringers, on the other hand, can cover their own travel outlays with a view to recouping their investments via readership subscriptions and established media outfits that patronize their work. In other words, freelance journalists can charge their travel outlays on covering events to owners of media outfits who buy their work and consequently publish them on their journalistic platforms. Equally incontestable is the fact that owners of medial outfits can then, in turn, debit media buyers and their readership with the bill possibly as a surcharge or emolument. This sinuous proposition undermines the utility of “soli.”

The social storm the “soli” controversy has generated recalls a somewhat similar circumstance in the US, of which the Pulitzer Prize-winning Carl Bernstein maintains: “The files show that the salaries paid to reporters by newspaper and broadcast networks were sometimes supplemented by nominal payments from the CIA, either in the form of retainers, travel expenses or outlays for specific services performed.” Bernstein concludes: “Almost all the payments were made in cash (See “The CIA and the Media: How America’s Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the CIA and Why the Church Committee Covered it Up”). The element of undue influence and the nominal payments forced journalists to breach the ethical provisos of the profession at will. Undue influence is a clinically silent ailment of Ghanaian journalism.

That aside, it is only proper that media owners and journalists and readers should be wary of the influence of media buyers and classified advertisers. Yet it is in Meyer’s “influence model” that the philosophical locationality of the moral voice of journalism inheres. This moral voice of journalism must change the world for the better. Thus, Ghanaian journalists should seek the promotional interests of development sociology, national solidarity, and development economics against a backcloth of scientific rationalism, of mutual respectability with their readership, of democratic exchange of ideas with other social forces, rather than of proliferation of religious fascism, scientific and technological agnosy, and political theocracy. Lastly, as an aside, we should want to see Ghanaian journalism schools make room for fashion journalism and photojournalism, the latter particularly for visual learners and those individuals infatuated with photography, artistry, and aesthetics.

Still, we shall not belabor a driving need for sports journalism as it is already a relatively well-developed journalistic genre with a wide readership public, a view supported by popular patronage of “Graphic Sports” for instance. It bears emphasizing again that circulation, readership, and popular patronage are not necessarily replaceable with journalistic quality and journalistic objectivity. Our position is that Ghanaian sports journalism does not eventually become a conversational platform for voyeurism, cheap gossip, marital infidelity, sensationalism, sexual escapades, public celebration of illicit drugs and social deviance, or turn into celebrity journalism, yellow journalism, and tabloid journalism, as the country’s youth seek positive role models to look up to.

Let us then make sycophantic journalism and yellow journalism, two chronic symptoms of Ghanaian journalism, a thing of the past! Let us expand the remunerative bracket of journalists to make “soli” an appendage of history. Let journalistic objectivity speak on behalf of food security, gender equality, improved public services, strengthening public institutions, public health and environmental consciousness, quality education, child protection and handicapped welfare, anti-corruption, equitable re-distribution of national wealth, youth employment, political and constitutional review of winner-takes-all, resisting illicit drug infestation of Ghana and politico-religious demagoguery, and so on. And, of course, let us make journalistic objectivity an ethical signature of Ghanaian journalism. Unfortunately, the irony, the hard truth, and the sad part of it all is that journalistic objectivity is a gargantuan myth, a lingering mystery, although subjectivity is what actually rules the emotional empire of the journalism industry, and that Ghanaian journalists probably constitute one of the most corrupt industry groups in the entire country.

Are Ghanaian journalists asking themselves why they are so corrupt? Are they asking themselves why the executive is so corrupt? Why the legislature and the judiciary are so corrupt? And why Ghanaian society in general is so corrupt? If so, are they willing to be part of the solution rather than of the problem? How effective is the journalist’s fight against the entrenched meme of corruption? On the other hand, we must all learn not to overburden the journalism industry with righteous criticisms and self-serving cants, for the role of the industry in shaping the behavior of society remains as much a collective responsibility as an individual curiosity. Also, traditional journalism as practiced in Ghana today needs improving to make it more competitive, as it is with a view to offsetting some of the draconian challenges new media, news aggregators, blogosphere, etc., pose to it (See Prof. Neil Henry’s Aug. 23, 2007 article “The Decline of News,” San Francisco Chronicle; see his book “American Carnival: Journalism under Siege in an Age of New Media”).

Ghana no longer requires toxic journalism to speak on her behalf. Let us give watchdog journalism and advocacy journalism and community journalism a chance to append the moral signature of their inquisitional voices to the social improvement of the relationship between public institutions and the masses by, among other things, working honesty, trustworthiness, openness, seriousness, intelligence, self-criticism, moral and ethical activism, and originality into the idiomatic dough of the journalism industry as a whole. No human undertaking is entire without the integrational inputs of all relevant players involved in its execution. In fine, the strategic marriage between journalism and politico-economic power structures must be acknowledged with a depth of ethical appreciation only matched by the rigor of media criticism.

Media criticism should therefore be given sustained investigational attention in the curricula of our journalism schools. In fact, the pedagogical advent of media criticism in both our journalism schools and non-academic world is necessary to tame the destructive potentiality of media manipulation. However, it stands to reason that the economic and political classes rely on the media for social control and social engineering purposes, to make a leader’s elitist rulership and political province easy pursuits. If that be the case, then, the heterotelic capacity of the media for internal social, cultural, and political self-correction and self-criticism need be invoked. It justifies the political urgency for moral muscularization of the private press as a formal institutional chaperone for the state media, stanching the excesses and corruptible patronage of incumbency through the influential agencies of internal and external enemies of Ghanaians.

Admittedly, it also implies that the role of the private media in promoting the cause of the private sector, specifically free market economics, over public economics should not be one conceived in the pious dialect of philosophical hyperbole.

We now know the Washington Consensus, so-called, is not the only pathway to economic, material, and industrial success. The Beijing Consensus, a mixed economy as conceived and implemented by visionary thinkers and scholars and politicians such as Kwame Nkrumah, is a viable alternative, so too are the mixed economies of Western social democracies. The private sector’s collusion with the state through illegal disbursement of judgment debts and other forms of public corruption is public knowledge, constituting a model case study in the abject failure of the private sector to rise above the overhyped shortcomings of public economics.

But Ghanaian journalism is largely silent on the critical question of advocating a healthy balance between free market economics and public economics, state interventions in market economies to be specific. Rather, Ghanaian journalists are more likely to pursue the ideological winds of stomach politicians whose rhetorical vanities somehow manage to romantically massage their greedy ears through politicians’ bestowal of greasy or juicy hazards, such as “soli” and bribery, on them. Journalists must thus fight kakistocracy and kleptocracy tooth and nail and must also resist all attempts at being used as useful idiots by slimy politicians, this on all fronts. In the end we should all have to acknowledge that the verdict of truth belongs to the advocatory bluntness of a collective voice, of which media politics represents just one of the most important investigational sinews of public accountability (See Prof. Neil Henry’s May 26, 2009 article “Open Forum: Journalism Students Lead the Way,” San Francisco Chronicle).

We close the chapter on the state of Ghanaian journalism with this article! We shall, however, continue the discussion sometime in the not-too-distant future as the series does not exhaustively capture the vanishing rhythm of Ghanaian journalism, nor does it turn to the page where the grudging future of traditional journalism is buried deep in the historic transformation of informational consciousness born of the technological modernism of New Media or multimedia wonder.

Let responsible journalism speak truth to power!

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis