A former High Commissioner to India, Sam Pee Yalley, has cautioned against what he describes as the use of the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to control media content in Ghana.
This comes after the Asantehene was chosen as the guest speaker for the official opening of the maiden media capacity enhancement programme at the Manhyia Palace on Monday 10 January.
In his speech at the event, the Asantehene told the journalists that they have a duty to protect and preserve the unity and stability of our country
“It is my hope that improving the understanding of our practitioners will contribute to the enhancement of the quality of the media and diminish the source of concerns we have today.
“Let me conclude with a fervent appeal to the media, to all our journalists and media owners, you all have a duty to protect and preserve the unity and stability of our country, in the face of all the turmoil in the world, you are proud because you can point to your country with pride and its stability and increasing success,” he said.
“A challenging moment it has been but it is so for us to follow the Methodist hymnal and count our blessings, count them one by one and we will know what the Lord has done for us. That knowledge should inspire us to persevere, to work hard to douse conflict, work hard to forge unity and generosity of heart,” the Asantehene added.
But Mr Sam Pee Yalley who is against the choice of the Manhyia Palace as the venue for the event in a text message read on the New Day show on TV3 by Johnnie Hughes on Tuesday January 11 that “We must careful not to use the power of the Asantehene in the manipulation of Media Content in Ghana. This will be in the long term interest in Media Freedom in Ghana.
“The venue is wrong, the Chieftaincy Institution itself is a subject of Media scrutiny and such subtle attempts to influence Media content is dangerous.
Deputy National Youth Oragnsier of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Edem Agbana who also raised issues against the government being the organizer of this capacity enhancement programme, indicated that this has the propensity of compromising the neutrality of journalists.
He believed that the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) should have been the organizers of such an event, not the government.
He was contributing to a discussion on the New Day show with Johnnie Hughes on TV3 Tuesday January 11 regarding the programme designed by the government through the Ministry of Information to provide training for some 250 journalists annually across the country.
The government should not be the organizer of this event, Agbana said.
He further asked the GJA to take up the issue of welfare of journalists seriously.
“The Ghana Journalists Association must sit-up on the issues of welfare of journalists. We need to have a whole conversation about the welfare of journalists,” he said.
Communications Director of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), George Ayisi, however believed that there was nothing wrong with the government organizing the programme.
“The government is supporting all institutions to thrive and the media is part so that is ok. That cannot take people from their jobs,” he said.
He however agreed with Agbana on the point that another body could have organised this programme.
“It would have been ideal if GJA had done it or the National Media Commission (NMC),” he said.
On Monday, 10th January 2022, we officially opened the Media Capacity Enhancement Programme (MCEP) for the first cohort of Ghanaian journalists at Manhyia, Ashanti Region.
Meanwhile, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has thanked the Asantehene for hosting the opening ceremony.
“The National Media Commission (NMC), Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Private Newspaper Publishers Association (PRINPAG), Institute of Professional Studies (IPS), Communication Educators, Association of Ghana Civil Society Groups in Media and selected leading journalists and media houses worked together to set up an independent working group that is collaborating to enhance the capacity of Ghanaian journalists to ensure they deliver on their mandate.
“Appreciation to His Royal Majesty, Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II for gracing and hosting the opening ceremony. We will continue to do more to support the Ghanaian journalist,” he wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.