The media is a powerful institution. Per the 1992 constitution of Ghana, it is the fourth estate of the realm. No doubt those who put together the constitution knew the powerful role the media must, should and will play as the years go by.
But what do we see these days, the supposed powerful institution of the media has now forgotten its duties, role, and powers because it is now being tossed around by governments of the day.
In this century some people still don’t have access to potable drinking water, basic education, good roads, quality health care, and on the side women still die while giving birth yet these issues seem not to be regularly prioritized by the media in Ghana today.
Developmental issues like mental health and educational challenges still linger on without sustainable policies and programs to solve them. These situations almost stay the same way until people lose lives, embark on demonstrations or threaten to not cast their votes forcing the government of the day to feebly attempt to resolve such problems.
Hmmm, so what’s my point you’re asking?
I will simply put, where is the fourth arm of government that is supposed to push for the betterment of society and the marginalized?
The media is to inform, educate and entertain right? OK, but what do we see and hear now? Curse words and cussing have become the norm of the day on the Ghanaian airwaves, even supposedly responsible politicians and religious leaders freely throw around bad language on TV and radio, like as though kids are not listening or sensibilities are not offended.
Our local Ghanaian music videos, movies, music, and broadcasters have all joined the bandwagon, without batting an eyelid and we look on thinking it is funny… What, in the name of our ancestors, at all are we teaching the next innocent generation?
Music videos are flooded with words that once were forbidden or difficult to mention. Look I know the world has changed and become more liberal but come on, must we force immorality down the throats of our young future generation, must we copy blindly just to fit in, must we ignore the values and morals we in our 40s and above were raised with by our parents and grandparents — all in the name of getting at par with modernity?
I quite remember that in the late ’90s, a jury at the Ghana music awards rejected Batman Samini’s song ‘Linda’ because he used what was felt to be a derogatory word although the song was a huge hit. My point is, what is different now looking back at those days?
Did the rules governing the work of the media change? What had happened to censorship. Where did the authority of the National Media Commission go, that censorship on the media space is now nothing to the media? Nudity, profanity and suicidal comments range on without a blink of an eye or second thought for the future generation.
We fill day time TV with foreign culture and programs, many of which do not represent what we are as Ghanaians or even Africans. And the few times where we allow programs synonymous with our culture we find them trying too hard to imitate other cultures. Music videos are now flooded with half-naked or virtually naked women twerking to beats like no one’s business. What happened to the Ghanaian morals, identity and those who stood for the right things to be done.
The media together with its regulators are failing us. Dear gatekeepers of information, education, and entertainment where are you taking us if you continue to be at the beck and call of politicians. The media must put governments and those in authorities in check. How long should innocent people die or suffer for other’s selfishness, carelessness or misdeed.
We can put governments of the day in order by simply awakening to our responsibility, if those we trusted have been bought then it’s about time we started looking out for ourselves.
Let them work for what they promised the electorate and not be in bed with the media in other to control or put the masses to sleep. Don’t the obsequiousness stop! Rather, set the agenda for governments to follow. That is your duty. The nation needs a media that will go all length to push for the sustenance of development projects and policies in the right direction.
We need a robust, professional, modernized and advanced media, if we have it then it must be reactivated because right now it seems it is comatose. To those few that are holding the forte, I say thank you for calling wrong exactly what it is and risking your peace of mind for the sake of truthfulness. God save our mental health, our infrastructure, our culture, and our identity as Ghanaians!
Please see below for the full video on this subject by the author of this piece.
Written by Philip Ofori-Yentumi