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The Ghana journalists association - in defence of irresponsible journalism

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 Source: Tilapia

Article by Tilapia

On the basis that a journalist chose to insinuate publicly that it was Asamoah Djan who had killed his best friend Castro, by spiritual means for material benefits, I am prompted by the ensuing turmoil to also add my voice to the melee as captured in the Ghanaweb story of 7th Sept 2014 titled, 'Baffour Gyan granted bail, one more arrested'.

I am, contrary to the loud noises being made by the GJA, highly incensed by the prevailing cheap gutter journalism that has reduced the moral fibre of this country to a Sodom and Gomohrrah-like, situation. In the quest to achieve fame and to make money for themselves and on behalf of their companies, journalists steer themselves to the precipice of the ridiculous, the bizarre, the unfeasible, the discourteous and utterly contemptible unprofessional behaviour. But when one gives them back what they give, they dont seem to understand why and where it is coming from.

If our journalists, most of whom cannot seem to string together common alphabets to write a decent paragraph of common English, choose to adopt that irresponsible and insensitive western style of journalism that is erroneously tagged as 'press freedom', here in Ghana, without considering local social and cultural sensitivities, they will without any doubt continue to be walloped by no-nonsense Ghanaians who wont have any of this kind of irresponsible foolishness.

I can only imagine the searing pain and inconsolable grief that Asamoah Djan and his family must have had to go through after the tragic Castro incident and I can feel it when stray primitive characters, made good by cheap substandard journalism certificates, charitably handed out to them by qualitatively dubious institutions of journalism, jump on the gung-ho band-wagon of cheap popularity to unjustifiably cast vile insinuations and aspersions against high-profile public personalities, only with the sole aim of making themselves visible in public light. This unsavoury approach, is akin to employing pornographic images and lyrics to popularize films, songs or products. It is simply not on.

I am sure that the inability to find the bodies of the two missing young persons who are presumed to have drowned, continues to give all who are closely concerned - especially their closest friends, associates and particularly, Asamoah Djan himself who may share a considerable amount of guilt for being in the company of Castro when he got 'lost at sea', terrible depressing nightmares.

This unfortunate tragedy has the capacity to haunt and emotionally affect anybody for the rest of his/her life - more-so, that of an internationally recognizable personality like Asamoah Djan who is constantly under the glare of international media focus.

Then out of the blues when things were beginning to calm down a bit, we have a loose nonentity, who not surprisingly, works for a disgraceful Ghanaian newspaper that relies on foreign racist media institutions to publish news about Africa, sticking his head out from his rural and backward mentality, to make spurious, backward and unfounded accusations and to thereby provoke further controversy about the tragedy.

The commotion does not end there. An utterly corrupt, inept and comatose professional organization, that professes to stand for the myopic interests of journalists in Ghana, but that cannot organize a simple journalists awards event without cheating, wades blindly, emotionally and prejudicially into the mêlée and childishly stands up for the scoundrel in the same way that an inconsiderate big brother would, for his younger sibling, in a school compound fight, without considering the dire sensitivities of the families of Asamoah Djan, Castro and the young lady.

Now listen to the whole Ghana Journalists Association. " It should be put on record that whether Asamoah Gyan likes it or not the rumour is out there,...". This statement clearly implies that without recourse to the necessary investigative work, expected of all genuine and truly qualified journalists, the GJA rather opts to validate rumours to establish the basis of newsworthiness. So now the news is officially out that, the means to clarify the merits of a subject matter in Ghana, is based on rumours - by edict of the Ghana Journalists Association - no less. This alone settles it all. This is the official position of the GJA. No wonder we are bombarded on a daily basis with utter rubbish and nonsense from all angles and sections of the media, leading many vulnerable Ghanaians to become even more and more ignorant, befuddled, uncivil and as ill-mannered as that reckless reporter who was rightly disciplined, portrays.

The GJA adds in their statement that, “The GJA would like to remind the family of Gyan to stop thinking that their so-called popularity in football could clothe them with authority to treat journalists with contempt,”. I do not think that the Asamoah Gyan family over-reacted to the imprudence of that reporter on the basis they felt that they were powerful and untouchable. I would think that their high public visibility is what has rather restrained the Asamoah Gyan family from acting more emotionally, more instinctively and more violently than they have so far done. Money or no money, fame or no fame, any self-respecting person under this kind of depressing stress, would have been impulsively provoked by sheer emotional pain to act in commensurate response to the way that the senior Gyan is said to have reacted - and probably, worse.

Journalists in this country have become increasingly unrestrained, morally uninhibited, uncouth and lawless to the extent that in recent times, they have had the audacity to even stand in court and openly defy Supreme Court Justices and the Supreme laws of the land. Journalists, like policemen in this country have employed the once much respected designation of their professions, to create chaos and utter mayhem in our society. As we speak today, one cannot get covered by the news unless one invariably bribes journalists to do so. And woe betides you if a journalist attends your event and you dont 'settle' him for his lunch, his transport to and from the event, and a little bit more to pay his childrens school fees. If you dont, they will simply resort to hound and persecute you into total and utter submission - in the same manner that they are harassing, bullying and pestering the Asamoah Gyan family.

This country has been besieged by the ignorant and crass forces of Ghanaian journalists, and right thinking people of this country need to stand up and put them in their proper place. Ours is a developing society which may not be able to withstand the journalistic delinquency that flaunts itself in the false notion of a free press and which other more developed societies suspiciously and doubtfully assert to portray.

Now for the information of the GJA, the Asamoah Gyan family is not only popular, they are also in addition, actually famous, better known, wealthier and more appreciated around the world for more respectable reasons than the entire GJA and all its members put together can boast of. This unquestionable fact does not however imply that Asamoah Gyan and his family are above the law or that they can do as they please in society. This is only being stated in pointed reference to the demeaning GJA allusion to the Gyan family. Their impudent and arrogant reference to as it were, "... remind the Gyan" family, presumably of their civic responsibilities comes out as a damp squib warning against the fact that journalism in this country has become an active agent of national moral decay and social disintegration.

Against the background of their recent high profile act of blatant public deception and moral turpitude, by undermining the principles of their own profession, their own association and the winning choice of their own 2014 National Awards Committee, it becomes irritating and laughable at the same time that the GJA should try to assume the moral high ground in this matter or for that matter, any other matter. Or is the GJA just merely a cabal that reacts simply and only in defence of its exclusive narrow-minded and quite often, their inward-looking and unjust interests?

Just a couple of days ago, it was reported that a couple of football hooligans were arrested at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium by the Police for hurling the same kind of surreptitious abuse at Asamoah Gyan during a Black Stars training program. I can safely presume that because those two did not have media accreditation to insulate them from lawful arrest, they were fair game, so they were promptly hauled into police custody and charged. I have since then, not heard of, or, seen any media reaction by any journalist or the GJA condemning the Police and going to the rescue of those like-minded common ruffians on this matter. In comparison to this particular instance, I think the Kumasi Graphic reporter got off lightly and should therefore be grateful to his God for small mercies.

As a result of endless misdemeanours under protective cover of the assumed inviolability of media practice, many well-to-do people and public figures in this country have learnt to avoid journalists like they would avoid the Ebola virus. They have also now resorted to hire personal body-guards, otherwise referred to as macho-men, to protect themselves and to inflict instant justice on anybody who would dare attempt to violate their personal space. This particular Gyan case is just such an example and I cannot begrudge anybody who indulges in such extra-judicial tendencies because even the politicians who rule us and are to ensure our general security, rights and safety, have observed the failure of our security, judicial and legal system and have like-wise resorted to macho-men themselves to sort out their personal issues and grievances.

If there was any dependable and reliable legal means by which the Gyan brothers could have availed themselves of justice, I am sure that they would have availed themselves of that opportunity without resorting to the albeit unpleasant need to 'paddling their own canoe'. I wish to remind anyone who still objects or disagrees to this development of instant justice tendencies that, we the citizens are now all on our own in this country. Those who do not know this, have not as yet found themselves face-to-face with a life-threatening problem in this country.

The immature and unprofessional posture of the GJA on this Asamoah Gyan matter is just another warning shot that should remind all Ghanaians of just how low we continue to sink, in terms of moral integrity, in ethical substance and in qualitative value as a nation. If journalists - and for that matter, a whole national journalists association, cannot be well-advised, by its presumably more experienced membership, to take a more matured, reasonable, perceptive, unbiased and a more conciliatory position on a matter which involves one of its members, a public personality - and with all the cantankerous negative implications, ramifications and consequences of the fracas, then we are in for worse trouble in this country.

Columnist: Tilapia