Elizabeth Ohene: Ghanaian journalists are failing the nation

Elizabeth Ohene: Ghanaian journalists are failing the nation
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy
Date: 19-03-2014 Time: 03:03:42:pm
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Elizabeth Ohene
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Veteran journalist and former minister, Elizabeth Ohene, says the country's journalists are failing the nation by paying little attention to stories that affect lives.

According to the former BBC broadcaster, producer and editor, many Ghanaian journalists are failing to live up to the expectation of the masses by choosing to "preach" rather than tell compelling stories.

"It is your job to make sure that the things that people do in darkness are brought to light," the former Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education during the John Kufuor administration, stated on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Wednesday.

"I'm a little bit worried about the journalist [behaving] as a priest, preaching to people 'do this, do that'; but that's the job of priests," Ms Ohene stressed.

She denounced the situation where journalists confine themselves to just reporting events and not going a step further to bring out 'hidden truths' citing for instance, the recent development on the Tema motorway which resulted in heavy vehicular congestion due to a crater that developed on the outer lane.

Many motorists blamed the government for not doing much to keep the road in good condition, decades after its construction by the administration of the country's first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

"...Should it collapse before you [journalists] see it? What about going through the hansard [of parliament] and finding out what has been suggested that there will be this kind of repairs done this year and you would have known that it was said that this would be done but that it wasn't done; or that this was in the budget for three years and nothing had happened. But you don't do it. That is where we are failing, if you ask me; that is where we are failing".

She stressed the importance of the work of journalists, saying the public has a right to be informed.

"The public has the right to be informed; the public has an absolute right to be informed because without information you are lost".

                    

Trading the soul of the profession

Another veteran journalist, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo expressed worry about the apparent involvement of journalists in activities that are deemed by society as morally wrong.  

The former host 'Front Page' on Joy FM noted that, the poor and the voiceless continue to wallow in their misery because, the journalists who are supposed to speak for them, have turned blind eye to their sufferings.

"Increasingly, many journalists appear to be becoming complicit, cutting deals in the dead of night...and that's part of the problem."

"Yes, there is a business side to journalism but also there's a soul to it. If you miss that [and] if you are oblivious of that then of course you are hurting society because we are not playing our roles as watchmen for the poor," he maintained.  


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