Professor Kwame Karikari, of the Media Foundation for West Africa, is dead-on accurate in faulting Ghana’s ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) for embarking on a flagrant course of media intolerance and a thinly veiled economic threat of boycott against the privately owned Multimedia Group, the parent company of Joy-Fm and Adom-Fm radio stations, among a plethora of others (See “Multimedia Boycott Smacks of NDC’s Intolerance, Desperation – Prof. Karikari” Ghanaweb.com 3/22/12).
Link to the foregoing, the Mills-led government’s earlier attempt to impugn the credibility and public confidence in the Accra-based think-tank IMANI, with the dubious claim that the key operatives of IMANI were on the payroll of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, and the tactical drift of the new NDC media-downing strategy becomes luridly damning. Needless to say, the Nkrumaist NDC media “one-up-manship” appears to be working the brains and guts out of the Cudjoe-Simmons group.
Just the other day, for example, IMANI’s chief eggheads publicly and vehemently disputed Nana Akufo-Addo’s campaign promise to make pre-university education free for all Ghanaian citizens, as a fundamental step towards kick-starting his industrial development agenda for the country, without logically providing any reliable statistical evidence for the think-tank’s rather curious decision to impugn the feasibility of the Akufo-Addo agenda.
What was even more curious was the gaping failure of the Cudjoe-Simmons group to tangibly explain to Ghanaians, at large, precisely how it came about that the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party had been able to handily move the country’s medical services and healthcare culture, or protocol, from the NDC-minted “Cash-and-Carry” regime of Social Darwinism to the comprehensive National Health Insurance Scheme that continues to dictate the provision of medical care and health services in the country.
Grant the fact that the NHIS is not nearly as functional as it optimally ought to be; still, in terms of both its efficacy and ideological thrust, the NHIS is far and away more progressive than the clinically benighted “Cash-and-Carry” health –delivery policy which the NDC cavalierly purported to typify the quintessence of the kind of “Social Democracy” that the party’s movers and shakers have been shamelessly preaching for some three decades now.
Even as Professor Karikari rightly pointed out, the NDC government’s decision to boycott the Multimedia Group, seriously betrays President Mills’ publicly stated commitment to both protect and promote media freedom, even the freedom of rabidly adversarial media organizations and operators, as clearly enshrined in Ghana’s Fourth-Republican Constitution. For the protection of even stubbornly antiestablishment media organizations is what is unmistakably meant when experts in the discipline and field speak of a free press.
Alas, now, and predictably, it appears that the Mills government would have Ghanaians define and appreciate the inviolable concept of a “Free Press” as only that which serves the especial interest of Tarkwa-Atta and his minions. We hope Ghanaian voters are paying sedulous attention to this flagrant assault on their right to be freely and democratically informed.
And, perhaps, a levelheaded Ghanaian citizen also ought to inform the Mills-Mahama posse that the government has absolutely no right to unilaterally dictate which media organizations its publicly funded branches of ministries, centers and secretariats ought to be dealing with, both formally and informally. Such edict ought to come from the Supreme Court, and not drooling and oversized lips of a wet-eared deputy information minister called Agyenim-Boateng or Okudzeto-Ablakwa.
And if, indeed, the government felt so strongly about what it peevishly terms as the “mischievous reportorial bias” of the Multimedia Group, President Mills, himself a remarkable legal light, would since long have ordered one of his unrelenting human media attack dogs to table a motion with Parliament and duly have the latter deliberate on the matter and the proper recommendations presented before the Ghanaian public at large.
Instead, what we have here is the executive branch of government literally taking the law into its own hands, by shamelessly and unconscionably forcing “recalcitrant” sections of the media into the morally repugnant strait-jacket of “Trokosi Journalism.”
Then also, I sincerely fail to fathom how a government whose key cabinet appointees have etched an epic art out of the politics of personal abuse, and made outright lies the capstone of its information and media policy, presume to school the management and staff of Multimedia Group on the ideal tenets and practice of progressive journalism. In other words, it is rather annoying, to say the least, for President John Evans Atta-Mills to pretend as if Ghanaians are oblivious of the rhetorical savagery of NDC cabinet operatives like Messrs. Koku Anyidoho, Baba Jamal, Agyenim-Boateng, Kobby Acheampong, Stanley Dogbe, Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Tony Aidoo and Victor Smith.
And to be certain, the real enchilada star-cast list of NDC poets and traders of abuse (“Halo,” in Ewe parlance) has not even been put together as yet. And then, also, how could anyone so easily and so soon have forgotten the names of Dr. Hannah Bissiw and Amma Benyiwa Doe?
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of a forthcoming volume titled “Danquah Versus Nkrumah: In the Words of Richard Mahoney.”
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.africa-forum.net