For the first time in this year’s elections, I decided to get a feel of the campaign by following the media team of the Chief of Staff in his Greater Accra Tour.
My observation: If you are reading this post and with the view that all is rosy for our politicians because they drive in big big cars, I want to tell you that it is not easy to canvass for vote. The exercise is both mentality and physically absorbing. When you see a politician put on weight, relax, elections is the biggest fat burner. Ade Coker has lost some pounds same as Hon Julius Debrah, Mr Syvester Mensah hasn’t gone unnoticed. Interestingly, the only person who seems to have maintained his weight is the Greater Accra Regional Minister- Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo. No wonder his last name is agbo (a Ga word for big).
Looking across to the NPP, Nana Addo, Alan K and Bawuamiah have equally shed some weight. Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom appears to be one of the few people to maintain his weight. But honestly, if you look at the man affectionately called ‘Adwuma Wura’, he doesn’t have much flesh to take a further loss kindly. He that is indeed down fears no fall. Thankfully, they look fitter even though their eyeballs alone can tell you they are tired and wish the election had taken place 2 weeks ago. It is indeed true that there is no glory without travail, they chose politics; they must carry the cross.
After the politicians are the foot soldiers. Foot soldiers indeed take elections more seriously than the politicians themselves and interestingly, they never seem tired. They can shout for the whole day as long as they can trust kenkey to come to their aid at the end of it all. If you are a little nice to them kenkeyly, they will always be by your side
Beyond the politicians and the soldiers at their foot are my people, the 4th Estate of Realm; the media. In my estimation, the media is more important than the electoral commission in elections. Without the media, there can never be fair elections irrespective of how efficient the EC is or how well they perform
Following the Chief of Staff for his tour of the Greater Accra as part of the media team gave me a fair idea of how some of my colleagues and their media houses are operating and how basic professional ethics have been dumped into a bin.. It is this worry that gave birth to this article 9 days to the elections.
Every journalist owes his readers and listeners nothing but the whole truth. Unfortunately, it appears some media houses have taking to doing the work of politicians for them and depriving the people of Ghana and their audience what the truth really is on the campaign trail
It is one thing listening to a lie told of the NDC and NPP about their campaign on Oman F M and Radio Gold respectively; it is another thing when it comes from let say Adom FM or Peace FM
We find ourselves at a point where some editors sit in the comfort of their offices to twist report sent them by their reporters on the filled and re-angle the whole news to spectacularly sensationalize irrelevant happenings that were only acknowledged in one sentence by the reporter.
When less than 5% of a group shouts for change and try to get the attention of the media, their action should never be the dominant news item. What about the 90 and over percent who paid attention and comported themselves. A honest media house will let the 95 dominate and won’t make the 5% opposing view turn out to be a big riot that marred the whole exercise. This is how an event should be covered.
This is why I was very surprised by the reports by some media houses about the tour. The outrageous report of a riot at Panthan and other places that remains a mystery to a greater majority of us present and interestingly some of the very reporters representing the media houses that told their listeners the lies baffles me. It is strange when you have a reporter representing a media house amazed at what his media house attributes to him as his report of what happened at an event
As watchdogs, we have a responsibility to be responsible in our line of duty. If the oath of a President is to defend the constitution, ours is to tell the people the absolute the truth
A lying and unprofessional media is a danger to our democracy and we need to put a stop to it. If you are invited to a birthday that lasted for 12 hours and find 5 people out of 100 creating a scene that lasts for 10 minutes, you cannot and should never base your whole report of the birthday on the 10 minutes incident
When you do that, you have not been fair to the celebrant who invited you to publicise his program. In this case, the chief of staff invited us to cover his campaign, bussed us throughout the tour and provided us the means to enable us do a professional job. You don’t use the very platform he has given you to bring him down.
It is against the laws of natural justice and the very ethics of our profession. In the end, the ordinary person who witnessed the event could attest to the fact that the media lied and that is very dangerous for our own security if we are tagged as people who come to speak lies and make their effort be in vain
My biggest disappointment goes to the editors who have the final say about what is put out for listener. Many a times, reporters privy to what is happening on the filled file their report only for editors to sit in their offices without knowledge or adequate info about what happened to re-angle the news to push their personal interest.
Every political party has been and keep being victims of such unprofessionalism on our part. This is dangerous for our profession and more so for the reporter on the filled who gets exposed to all manner of insults, criticism and attacks at the hands of the people who feel unfairly dealt with along with their supporters
This article is not just about the Chief of Staff and how unfairly he has been treated by the media in his Greater Accra tour, it seeks to address the generally fallen standards of the noble profession and critically how it can affect our elections.
Before, during and after the elections, Ghanaians will largely be dependent on our reports, raising false alarms and blowing incidents out of proportion can create problems
Let us report the truth, minimize our bias as much us we can and tell people exactly what they’d have seen if they were on the filled.
We must stand on the side of the professionalism and be guided by the truth, fairness and objectivity.
I am peeved because this is not coming from Oman FM, Radio Gold or Muntie FM, it is coming from media houses that want us to believe they are neutral. The most dangerous person is a journalist who feigns neutrality. Joy FM, Adom FM, City FM have disappointed me the most in this year’s elections. Everyone expects them to be the definition of accuracy, objectivity, fairness and professionalism in crucial elections as this seems to be. They have failed to be neutral
With 9 days left for elections, we have a great responsibility as journalists to tell the truth. If two people quarrel, we don’t have to report it as an entire community at war or genocide
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