Media proliferation and maintaining journalistic standards
Yesterday, the Awutu Ofaakor District Court, presided over by her Ladyship Rosemond Vera Ocloo, remanded two boys between the ages of 15-19 into custody for allegedly murdering an eleven year old boy.
The two young men, Felix Nyarko and Nicholas Kini, were arrested on April 3 for allegedly murdering Ishmael Mensah for rituals.
The sad incident happened at Kasoa Lamtey in the Awutu Senya East Municipality in the Central Region.
According to one of the suspects, a spiritualist, whom they had discovered through a national television advertisement, agreed to help them become instant billionaires by demanding a human sacrifice and a sum of ¢5,000.
The two, therefore, lured Ishmael Mensah into an uncompleted building, under the guise of selling him a video game and killed him by hitting a club on his neck.
The two have been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder and have been scheduled to reappear before the court on April 20, 2021.
Meanwhile, some angry residents of Kasoa have called on the Ghana Police to ensure that the suspects are punished for their crime.
The Chronicle also believes that this heinous crime perpetrated by these teenagers should not go unpunished. We encourage the police to dig deeper with their investigations and ensure that anyone who is behind this crime is brought to justice.
However, as we all await the outcome of the police investigations, it would auger well for the country to find the root cause of this social vice, which is rearing its ugly head among the youth and to nip it in the bud.
First and foremost, the country has to tackle the countless advertisements of these so called ‘spiritualists and money doublers’ on most of our radio and television stations.
This paper has for the umpteenth time cautioned the state to take steps to clamp down on the proliferation of our TV sets with the activities of these “juju” men, but nothing seems to have been done about it.
We suggested in one of our editorials that the licenses of radio stations which allow them airtime to sell their nefarious acts should be revoked.
The two young men indicated that they had come into contact with a spiritualist through national television. If those involved in ensuring that such dregs of society do not have access to our TV stations took the necessary steps, this incident could have been avoided.
We have heard on countless occasions from the National Media Commission about how the constitution frowns on censorship and also guarantees the freedom of establishment of private press or media and hence, cannot interfere in the contents that some media houses air or stop people from establishing media house and operating them.
Indeed, the constitution in article 162 (2) indicates that “Subject to this Constitution and any other law not inconsistent with this Constitution, there shall be no censorship in Ghana,” while clause three of same article also states that: “There shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press or media; and in particular, there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a licence as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media for mass communication or information.”
But this same constitution also states in article 167 (a) “The functions of the National Media Commission are to take all appropriate measures to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the highest journalistic standards.”
Is the advertisement of activities of spiritualists’ part of the highest journalistic standards? We believe the answer is a big ‘No’. This means inasmuch as media houses have the right to air or put out whatever content, it must be done with some journalistic standards. If that is not done, then the NCA and its sister agency, the National Media Commission must crack the whip.
Aside these regulatory agencies, The Chronicle is also calling on the various media outlets to be mindful of the contents they air on TV.
We finally call on parents and guardians to play their parenting roles very well to ensure they that they don’t fall prey to some of these vices.