When my friend Anthony, told me to develop a keen interest in the social media and monitor the comments of my friends from Tamale, who are writing in the interest of political leaders, I paid little attention to his advice.
I thought it was one of his intelligent ways of trying to win my interest in an issue I consider to be less important.
Though I visit social media sites often, I hardly read peoples comments especially when they do not relate to the everyday situation of the marginalized that need my attention as a reporter.
One day, I decided to read all posts coming from any of my friends from Tamale, especially those I was told spend their time writing in defence known political leaders.
I was amazed and utterly disgusted by the posts and comments of many.
Information I have picked from some friends in Tamale who are into politics is that, to get an IPAD and its accessories from a politician, you must develop interest in denigrating your political master's rivals in your writings.
Doesn’t that sound disgusting?
Just this week, I had my own experience from these social media commentators who had issues with the story I did about a Tamale Central NDC aspiring parliamentary candidate, Alhaji Ibrahim Seidu.
Alhaji Ibrahim Seidu, in an interview with me made allegations about how constituency executives of Tamale Central are frustrating his efforts at getting his nomination form endorsed by branch members of the party.
The story was published on our online portal with the title. “Nobody wants to endorse my nomination forms.. NDC MP Aspirant Suspects sabotage “.
The headline of the story became a subject of concern for the aspirant and his followers who called me severally to express their reservation. I had to call my colleague to consider changing the headline of the story to its original as it was sent by me.
In the night after the story was published, a facebooker who claims to be a supporter of the said aspirant accused me of having been bribed by one Farouk, who is a brother to the Tamale central MP Alhaji Inusah Fuseini. He said the bride was to influence the story that I produced quoting Alhaji Ibrahim Seidu.
Supporters of Alhaji Ibrahim Seidu spewed lots of insults aimed at discrediting me as a journalist with some calling me with anonymous numbers to threaten me.
One thing I have learnt from my editors is that, a good journalist should always try to have people on record and I am thankful to my God that, that day the battery of my recorder didn’t go dead.
For these people, their anger was not only about the Joy News story, but why we gave attention to Alhaji Inusah Fuseini when he responded to the plight of over 400 pupils of Presbyterian primary school, also known as KULIKULI school with dual desks. The pupils in that school are in his constituency and they were going through difficulties.
In Tamale, many of the NDC social media commentators are divided between two leading members of parliament in the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly.
There is a perceived lingering feud between the two distinguished gentlemen which some of the NDC social media commentators take advantage of to denigrate, vilify and malign people.
There are others who write for different political parties notably the NPP and NDC.
I remember last year on the invitation of Haruna Iddrisu to cover electrification projects in his constituency, a friend of mine in the social media sent me a message accusing me of doing projected stories for the Tamale South legislator to attract attention to him.
The vilification grinding vehicle of these people did not stop there.
Last year while being in a DW Academy training in Accra, I was called by a friend that he and his boss had been informed that I had just stepped out of a meeting with the Tamale Mayor and Mohammed Aboagye where we planned to use the youth to make Alhaji Inusah Fuseini unpopular.
But I was in Accra and accused of an issue that was supposedly taking place in Tamale.
There are many of these issues but I will choose to end it here. Our elders say a man who responds to every gong from the chief’s palace will not have time to plant his corn.
In the same way, a journalist who spends all his time responding to people who earn a living by jumping from one politician to the other to malign and vilify people will have no time to focus on his work.
Same is also said by our elders that a man who farms by the road side shouldn’t be tired of greetings from people. By the wisdom of these our elders, I choose not to respond to the allegations leveled against me in the social media. But it doesn’t hurt to once in a while tell your side of the story.
The general idea has always been to ignore them since discerning minds won’t believe them. But sometimes I wonder how many minds are really discerning Silence, they say, is golden but sometimes it pays to win those who are swayed and brain-washed to hate you and your works because of ignorance.
The constitution of the country requires journalist to at all times, be free to uphold the principles, provisions and objectives of the Constitution, and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people of Ghana.
These will continue to motivate me to continue to be a journalist irrespective of the insults from social media commentators and their surrogates.
I will never try to please anybody and hurt my conscience. I will continue to stay true to myself, and my principles are to continue to be neutral. God is the judge of all intentions and sincerity of all human hearts and actions.
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