Is The Ghanaian Media Losing Its Vibrancy & Respect?

September 28, 2021 By 0 Comments

The media refers to communication channels through which information can be disseminated and it is broken down into two main categories, namely broadcast and print media. The Internet has also emerged as a major player, with rapidly growing number of people getting their news online.

In recent times the media has become an endangered career with no respect accorded to it. The number of documented incidences of abuse of journalists has increased dramatically over the last decade. What is surprising is the lack of prosecution against people who perpetrate these crimes against the practitioners of the fourth estate of the realm.

Arbitrary arrests, torture, assault, verbal abuse and destruction of journalistic material have become commonplace, with journalists as the primary victims.

When are these assaults going to stop? When is the media going to be accorded some respect?

Well, it looks like we have all forgotten the role played by the media.  The media plays an important role in society as a source of information and also as a “watchdog” of the society.

The media plays a significant role in reporting on the happenings in the world in general and nations to be specific. It is also responsible for furnishing the public with necessary information to achieve developmental changes through the print or electronic media.

It is rather unfortunate that some people still hold the view that the media only engages in gossip. Much as the media ‘gossip mill’ exists to satisfy a certain part of the infotainment market, a lot of what the media churns out daily is serious business that feeds the minds and hearts of consumers of information.

How do you know what is happening in the world or in your country without the media? It is high time the media is given its due respect.

Despite Ghana’s international reputation for holding press freedom in high esteem, her journalists’ rights have been frequently violated.

Just recently, journalists who were assigned to cover Rev Isaac Owusu Bempah’s alleged assault case at the Accra Circuit Court were ejected from the court room by police officers and denied the right to report on the case.

We must bear in mind that at the end of the day it is the masses who will suffer because they will be deprived of information.

Can’t journalists take up their duties in peace? If the Police, which is supposed to help uphold the right of the journalist to report news, is engaged in such atrocities, how then do we accuse the public when they also turn against the media?

The Ghana Police has no respect for the media. Even if the media is not supposed to cover the proceedings, there is a nice way of communicating rather than this cruel act.

It is enshrined in clause one of Article 162 of the 1992 constitution that freedom and independence of the media are guaranteed. Where is this freedom and Independence? Maybe I cannot see it. Where is it?

Do the Ghana Police always have to wait for such incidents to happen against journalists before they issue an apology? Can’t something be done to prevent these attacks on media persons?

This isn’t the first time that there have been attacks on journalists and also it is not only the police who assaults journalists.

There have been so many write-ups about the attacks on journalists but deaf ears have been paid to it. If the media is treated like this by the National security then how will the public respect the media?

Another thorny and unresolved issue is the role of National Media Commission. One of its functions is to promote and ensure the freedom and independence of the media. Even though it’s existed since 1993, it has been incapacitated by a weak enforcement framework and also has been a lot of foundations set up to protect the freedom and independence of the media and they are doing great in protecting media freedom but it still doesn’t change the fact that the media is not accorded respect. Surprisingly, despite all this happenings, it doesn’t discourage the media from performing their duties. It is high time media is accorded some respect.

The latest report by Reporters without Borders saw Ghana ranking 30 out of 180 countries assessed of media freedom, the same position it attained in the 2020 report, although its indicative points improved. Though Ghana’s constitution recognises media freedom, the passage of the Right to Information Law (RTIL) has not helped much due to bottlenecks in its implementation.