The media is not called the Fourth Estate of the real for nothing. It was not for fun that, we are considered the watchmen of the nation and tasked with the responsibility of shaping opinions, thoughts and setting agenda for the nation.
How then do we, as journalists, set the national agenda…the national discourse – which is one of our cardinal roles as the Fourth Estate of the Realm – if we have sacrificed our conscience at the altar of pecuniary interests?
Our responsible is onerous and important that, some men and women died, while others went to prison, in the course of attaining media freedom. The question is, are we exercising that responsibility to the best of our abilities and in the interest of the nation?
Today, anybody who can read and write and has access to a computer, also labels himself or herself a journalist. We have so many arm chair journalists whose conduct brings the name of the profession into disrepute.
Every day, as a nation we are confronted with stories that insult our sensibilities and question our morals. The headlines these days, due to the upcoming elections, if not controlled, will plunged this country into chaos and set us on the path of destruction.
As someone who works in the media, I am particularly pained and embarrassed by the depth to which some of the practitioners have descended as they struggle to join politicians and civil servants, , in the inglorious, greedy fight to fleece Ghana to death.
One can no longer hold his or head high and be proud of a profession that has the likes of Kweku Baako Jnr, Kwesi Pratt, Ben Ephson, Kofi Koomson etc, setting the pace and sacrificing to free the space for all of us.
The Monday, January 25, edition of the General Telegraph was a story purported to have been written by the Herald for which the paper sought clarity with the Minister of Communication, Dr. Omane Boamah.
The story was captioned “Gov’t Denies Sale Of Akosombo Dam To Chinese Company”. This was a story that was circulating on social media platforms last week and attributed to
The Herald newspaper. Any reasonable person, who read the story, do not need a clarification from anybody, as even our ardent critics, can attest to the fact that, the story could not be emanating from us.
The Akosombo Dam, is a very important strategic asset for this country, no government or President who has his thinking head on, would ever contemplating selling it, so it came as a surprise to us that, a newspaper, could attribute such a story to us, based on a phantom and infantile story making the rounds on social media.
Anybody, can write a story and share on social media, but a newspaper which is expected to operate within ethics and boundaries, must not fall for such scams.
What The General Telegraph did was diabolical, unnecessary and was laden with mischief to achieve a certain end, which end we are yet to ascertain.
We work in the same industry and have a certain fraternal relationship, if a story as damaging and damning as this comes before a colleague, common sense and logic dictates that, you verify from us, whether indeed we have authored or published it, but to go ahead and republish it quoting us, is below every ethics and standards that are supposed to guide us in our work.
This idea of media organizations seeking patronage and acceptance by going after other media houses is not the best. We do not mind being criticized but that criticism must be done with facts and truism.
We are fallible and so make mistakes, we have had cause time without number to apologize for stories we have done that are considered defamatory and so we are not afraid of criticisms, but if you must criticize us do it well and be fair to the facts.
The initial story that got the General Telegraph to talk to the Minister of Communication for his response without given us the opportunity to be heard was also captioned “Akosombo Dam Sold, As Nation Suffers Total Blackout”. This could only be coming from sick minds. Akosombo Dam is not like groundnut that one can just sell without recourse to parliament.
A lot of these stories are going to inundate us this year, we are just seeing the beginning and it is expected that right and well thinking Ghanaians, must be able to decipher what is true and false, what is possible and impossible, until then we are all doomed.
Yesterday it was The Herald, tomorrow it could be the General Telegraph and if we cannot stand with and defend each other, then we are bound to be tied at the stakes.
The General Telegraph, was reckless, nothing can possible explain or justify what they did, it would be in their interest and in the interest of the inky fraternity if they will withdraw the said publication and apologize.
Little wonder we now have a dearth of investigative journalism in this country, we advise our colleagues to do their homework well before publishing stories.
How is a journalist different from any other note-taker, if all he does is reproduce stuff written by others without cross-checking?