Opinion: China Cannot Dictate Media Culture in Ghana – says Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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As Ghanaians, in general, and the Ghanaian media, in particular, come to a realization of the imperative need to put an immediate and radical halt to the environmental menace of illegal gold-mining activities, popularly called Galamsey, this new collective self-preservation measure is apt to clash with the interests of foreign Galamseyers, whose primary focus is the massive exploitation of the land and far less on the necessary preservation of the land and its vital water resources, if the future comfortable existence of the indigenes or natives of our country is to be guaranteed. And so it comes as absolutely no surprise, whatsoever, that resident Chinese diplomats would be vehemently protesting the media’s portrayal of their nationals in the country who have gotten inordinately and destructively involved in Galamsey activities.

As the Minister for Lands, Forestry and Natural Resources, Mr. Peter Amewu, recently indicated, the Ghanaian government is deeply committed to protecting our ecological balance or environmental health and will not kowtow to any cynical attempts by any foreign power or government to stall this most necessary campaign geared towards the halting and rehabilitation of our natural resources for the benefit of Ghanaians, both presently living and the yet-to-be-born (See “Chinese Mission Cry [sic] Over Galamsey Fight; Demands Fair Reportage” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/8/17). It is also quite understandable that the longtime resident Chinese Ambassador and her associates would be worried about alleged media caricaturing of the key players of the Beijing government, as well as their local representatives on the ground here in Ghana.

But, of course, we also need to highlight the fact that the Chinese are receiving an especially raw media publicity because they have more than any other foreign nationals been intimately and seemingly adamantly involved in the wanton, inexorable and inexcusable denudation and chemical pollution of Ghana’s lands, forestry and other existentially critical natural resources. So it is quite refreshing to hear the Chief Chinese Diplomat in Ghana and her staff pledge to seriously work with the leaders of their host country to ensure the immediate cessation of the inhumane degradation of the country’s ecological system.

In return, these resident Chinese diplomats would have the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) tutor Ghanaian reporters and other media operatives on the proper dignified portrayal of the leaders and citizens of a traditionally friendly and benevolent mega-nation like China. This is all well and good, except that unlike Communist China, Ghana is a veritable constitutional democracy that guarantees unfettered freedom of the press and the media in general. What this means is that if the local representatives of the Beijing government want to see and/or experience a positive image portrayal in the Ghanaian media, they perforce ought to be seen by Ghanaian reporters and other media operatives to be assiduously working to drastically reduce the destructive impact of Galamsey on the local environment.

Our leaders, however, ought to also take some of the blame for the rather cavalier manner in which some of the resident Chinese diplomats talk down to them and our people. Our shameless beggarly dependence on the material generosity of Beijing does not favorably commend us as a people deserving of any more respect than the mange-infected family dog.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of www.africanewsanalysis.com, and www.zongonews.com