Kufuor: Politicians are afraid of journalists

Ex-President John Kufuor says the National Media Commission must take steps to rein in errant and irresponsible journalists whose activities have cowed politicians and others into submission.

Speaking at a forum to mark nine years of the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, Mr. Kufuor said journalists across the world have become so powerful and in most cases have abused their power.

Even though he appreciates the watch-dog role by journalists over politicians and other public officers, he believes strongly that journalists must also be made to account for their actions.

“In Ghana and all over the world, politicians live in fear of you (journalists) meaning you are perhaps more powerful than the politicians; you make and unmake politicians but to whom do you account for this immense power? Practically nobody,” he noted.

He says the media must be checked not by government but by the National Media Commission who has the constitutional mandate to regulate the activities of the media.

“I will turn to the Media Commission because we do not want to go back to the days where you were gagged.

“[That is necessary] so you [are able] to exercise your power responsibly. Otherwise the very sad and unfortunate and sometimes backward treatment meted out to you in places all over the world, including our continent might continue to be seen as the way forward in getting you in control.

“…I believe it should be part of the power of the Media Commission to bring the unbalanced media person to book.

“If you exercise your power irresponsibly they should pull you out and discipline you; perhaps withdraw your license,” he suggested.

Mr. Kufuor named his preferred private newspapers in the local newsstands as the Chronicle, the New Crusading Guide, the Daily Guide, The Accra Mail.

The Democrats and the Palaver Newspaper he said were too ideological.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/