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Media Trending On Dangerous Grounds in Ghana

Just few years after the repel of criminal law in Ghana, there had been the spring up of media outlets some of which are owned and managed by politicians, business executives, while few are own by professional journalists.
Each day, there are two or more new newspapers, magazines, radio stations and websites most of which belong to politicians establish to execute a purpose.
For instead Ghana had witnessed situation where media outlets faded out of the system when there is a change of government, or removal of a minister or death of a business executive.
There is No doubt that media played important role in the development of Ghana’s democracy, freedom of speech, and repel of criminal libel law. The paradigm shift in governance, popular participation in governance, and enhancement of human rights in Ghana can also be attributed to the roles the media play.
The media however is yet to help change justice delivery system in Ghana-which anyway is now picking up.
Too little reports on justice delivery system however, seems to be breeding corruptions in courts and among the judiciary, and lawyers. There are instances where corrupt acts are raised against the judge(s) while ordinary persons alleged to have suffered injustice, while the media kept silence over it.
Since there is no uprising in Ghana, the media however turned the war against itself and porously divided along political lines (pro-and opposition) keeping ordinary Ghanaian at a confused stage. Media Reports on the government businesses and opposition views are not reliable-now full of exaggeration and extortion hence not trustworthy.
 Even the government funded media outlets currently are not trustworthy because the journalists themselves are seen to be bias and politically inclined. There are situations where journalists see themselves as enemies and will simply not share notes, for accuracy, fairness, truth and objectivity seek because of political or ethnic expediency.
What is happening in the field of journalism in Ghana is about survival of the journalists whose merger salaries could simply not end them a week of spending. Majority of journalists are poorly paid and trained, whereas some are not even trained but jumped into the profession because an Uncle, Daddy or relative owns a media organization and would not want to dust out cash to other people’s siblings and engage his own relatives as heads of news, and programmes.
The popular “Solidarity” (journalists call) or T and T, the NGOs call) and (per Diem the governments call) is said to be another motivational factor that draws all manner of people into the field of journalism. This however boils down to the survival and copping strategies to social and economic pressures.
Standards and professionalism does not matter anymore in Ghanaian media landscape- journalism ethics and codes of conduct are thrown down-because of the proliferation “junk” journalists.
Arguably, one needs not be trained to become a good writer but must simply have the flair to write. However, like medical profession or other professions, there are guidelines to practicing journalism and having the flair of writing alone does not qualify you to be a journalist but it does in Ghana.
This noble profession is being toyed with in Ghana-I dare to say.  Alas, the review of the media landscape points to the fact that journalism practice has lost it real meaning and focus on keeping the society well informed, entertained and educated and was trending unconsciously on dangerous grounds.
The identification of journalists/media organizations on political and ethnic lines pose a serious threat to media landscape. Ask me and I will point to you if nothing at all the political line the so-called “senior Journalists” in Ghana belong to. It is an open secret.
This explain why people often raise issues of bias against most of them and condemn to nothing some of their reports-they however could not wrong at all times note that.
What is now being practiced here is more than “yellow journalism”(Yellow journalism or the yellow press is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.
Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism by extension “Yellow
Journalism” is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion) scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudo-science, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips (which is now normal in the U.S.) dramatic sympathy with the “underdog” against the system- wikipedia.
This definition of journalism marched the kind of journalism being practiced in Ghana today. The media in Ghana is divided into pro and opposition, much more divided in ethic line-similar to that of former Rwanda press- we are toeing a very dangerous line belief me you.
The Almighty National Media Commission (NMC) whose responsibility is to ensure sanity in the field of journalism and journalism practice is politically blood stain and cannot help streamline the system whereas Ghana National Journalists Association (GJA) apparently existed for the name seek.
There was situation where media report nearly thrown Ghana into civil strive. During the 2008 general elections, a media organisation alleged there was plans by some group of persons to manipulate elections result. This took thousands of political parties supporters to the offices of the Electoral Commission (EC). This nearly marred the elections process. There were also conflicting provisional results and this made EC’s work very difficult-The EC have to announce result with explanation.
The above is scaring factor that, no government is encouraged and will be willing to pass freedom of information bill into law that will give journalists the power to report beyond official documents.
The governments feel liberalizing the system will mean losing control of information flow and that explains why freedom of information bill is not being given any attention-It will take a longer time to pass that bill into law.  With the wake of social media, Ghanaians are still using these for political and ethnic purposes.
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About Npong Balikawu Francis

Npong Baliakwu Francis is a professional multi-media journalist, editor, writer, rapporteur, photographer, expert in digital photo story, videographer, and script and content writer with experience in international reporting.


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