19 February 2013

Ghana: Lecturer Blasts NDC Propaganda Post

Kumasi — A SENIOR Lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has blasted the concept of having the position of a propaganda secretary in the body politics of the country.

Dr. Richard Amoako Baah, who is a lecturer at the Department of History & Political Studies at the KNUST, says the idea of having a position, specifically assigned to do the duty of propaganda, casts serious slur on the current democratic dispensation of the country.

According to him, under no circumstance should an element of propaganda, which basically thrives on deceit and half truths, be entertained in a young democracy like Ghana.

Dr. Richard Amoako, who was contributing to a roundtable discussion organized by the Ghana Journalists Association(GJA) on the theme: "Media Coverage of the 2012 Elections: Lessons for the Future," noted with regret that media personnel in the country have endorsed and condoned the politics of deceit and propaganda by giving their platforms to politicians engaged in such unfortunate acts.

Citing the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), which has specifically instituted a position of Propaganda Secretary, he said Ghanaians and the leadership of the ruling party ought to be ashamed of themselves for institutionalizing lies and deceit in the nation's body politics.

The function was aimed at creating a platform for media professionals and election stakeholders to reflect on the coverage of the last elections with the view to drawing the relevant lessons and identifying what needs to form interventions directed at media capacity development as well as future coverage interventions.

The roundtable discussion is also under the GJA's project; "Using the Media to Enhance the Transparency and Credibility of the 2012 Election," which is being financed by STAR-Ghana and facilitated by KAB Governance Consult.

Various speakers, drawn from the academia and the media fraternity, spoke on topics centred on media professionalism in the coverage of last year's elections.

Dr. Amoako Baah, who generally commended the media for coverage of the elections, said there were still challenges and deficiencies which must be addressed in the near future.

He deplored what he described as laxity on the part of the media, which he explained as failure on the part of journalists to ask probing and do follow up investigations, especially during the course of the electioneering campaign.

The KNUST Lecturer observed that the media was not tough on politicians in terms of pushing them or holding them accountable for their campaign promises.

"I am wondering why up till now the media has not taken the President on for this erratic power supply when he publicly stated during the IEA debate in November last year that the country was going to witness stable supply of electricity by the end of the year," He observed.

Dr. Amoako Baah further questioned why the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a government agency, should be the one to organize presidential debate instead of a media institution or the academia organising such an important event, which is not only to evaluate policies and programme, but also allowed voters to make a meaningful choice as to which party to give their votes.

While admitting that the media has its limitations as a result of lack of logistics, financial and social influences, Dr. Amoako Baah said there were certain minimum standards that must be met by personnel in the course of their duties.

"One thing I have observed about the media landscape in Ghana is that most journalists approach the profession as if it is only a private job, but in actual fact the profession is a pseudo-official one and must be treated as such," he noted.

On his part, the GJA representative at the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr. Kwasi Gyan Apenteng charged the media to go beyond just publishing information, but also assess the impact on the lives of the people based on the social and economic indicators.

He noted that the media must also understand the legal framework work within which it operates, adhere to the ethical codes of ethics and also embark on training and re-training to upgrade their knowledge and acquire the needed information that will assist them to report effectively.

The former chairman of the National Media Commission, Mr. Paul Adu Gyamfi, who also chaired the function, underscored the need for the roundtable discussion since it would go a long way to help personnel evaluate their performance and do the necessary adjustments.

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