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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Journalism in Ghana- The hopelessness of a profession.

Integrity, judgment, objectivity,fairness, honesty, truthfulness. These are just a few of the cardinal principles that in my view makes a journalist stand out among his or her peers. I love people like Owen Benet Jones of the BBC, listen to them broadcast and you won't need the dictionary to find the word journalist. He possesses virtually all the cardinal principles of an outstanding journalist.

I cannot say that of Ghanaian journalists though. The journalists of this country, instead of being the eyes and ears of the voiceless in our society, are rather auctioneers that sell their profession for some miserable pittance to anyone with the highest bid. Virtually all the news papers and radio stations in this country are affiliated to one political party or the other. Tell a friend you read some story in paper X and all you hear is "oh, that paper is a party A paper so it's not true."

The hopelessness of the Ghanaian journalist was manifested in the December 2008 general elections. Through the recklessness of journalists, this country nearly exploded. I want to tell the whole world that it was not for the supposed "maturity" of Ghanaians but it was by the sheer Grace and Mercy of God Almighty that this country is still intact.

We are very capable of hacking each other like other is done in other African countries. All it takes is for some hopeless journalist to press the red button as was done in Rwanda to trigger a blood bath. Listen to the radio, watch TV or read a newspaper and all you are bombarded with is the hopeless views of some journalists who are touted as "ace" journalists singing the praise of their highest bidders.

The duty of a journalist is not to interpret the news but to convey it as it to his audience. That is not the case here. Journalists have suddenly become experts in all matters, from politics to technology and tend to throw dust into the eyes of the populace with their blatant lies and defense of sometimes indefensible issues.

They jump from one radio and TV station to the other, making so much noise over issues that are clear cut and need no elaboration. We have journalists in this country that have the guts to defend the nonsensical ex-Gratia that was cooked by the previous government for themselves. No one with an iota of good conscience will ever defend that blatant robbery of public resources disguised as ESB. Yet we have journalists that instead of being the voice of the people who overwhelmingly condemned the thievery, rather defending the right of politicians to loot.

There are women who are willing to sell their children for a miserable pittance of less than US$10. We have school children who still sit under trees to take lectures, hospitals with new born babies and their mothers having to sleep on the bare floor among a plethora of other social issues that are engulfing this nation. Yet our so called journalists instead of bringing such issues to the public domain and making sure those that are paid to not let that happen do their work are only interested in defending shameless politicians that openly steal public funds, talk about how the president is "dull" and other things that are of absolutely no benefit to the ordinary citizen.

Journalism is a sacred profession in my view that can easily break or make a country. It is the duty of journalists to be the voice of the voiceless in society, to hold accountable any one that is entrusted with public trust and to always convey the news as it is to the people without their own idiosyncrasies.

Shame unto all the Ghanaian journalists who have sold their integrity and honesty to politicians because they also want to share in the loot of public money. Shame unto all those journalists that have branded themselves as "ace" journalists and yet are full of just hypocrisy and ignorance. Shame unto all those journalists that have taken partisan lines to the extent that their sense of judgment has been clouded by their blind support of political parties.

To you those that have resisted all forms of overtures by lousy politicians to sell your integrity, I say "ayekoo" and always know that God is always on the side of Truth.
Source: saeedluqman.blogspot.com

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