Democracy and the Media are like the two sides of a coin. One cannot work without the other. The two-work hand in hand for the betterment of a country or society. For a country to develop economically, socially, and politically it has to be built on democracy and an independent media. It is therefore important for us to note that a well-structured, effective and independent media is the backbone of a country that tends to ensure good democratic practices. The media has the responsibility to inform, educate, act as a watchdog, entertain and to create a platform where people can share their views and opinions. It is quite fair to acknowledge the fact that the media has done an incredible job over the past few years. But with current happens in the country, little could be said in that regard.
In my view, the media to a large extent has failed in performing some of its important functions;with regards to providing information to the public, the media has put too much emphasis on time such that they tend to publish inaccurate, untruthful and unbalanced stories. Speed is now of importance than accuracy. Media houses are in a competition for who publish what first, it looks like there is not enough time to check for facts and accuracy.
Even though people are always eager to read fresh stories, they would prefer to read them with facts, accuracy and truthfulness.
Arguably, the media is not doing much in terms of educating the general public on issues happening in the country. Little education is given to the general public with regards to government policies and initiatives.
There is little or no in-depth analysis and investigations on national issues that will help the ordinary Ghanaian to understand what is happening in the country.
Ghana was slapped with a 170 million Judgement debt and little is known about how this judgement debt came about.
The Ghana Power Generation Company (GPGC) dragged the government of Ghana to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) after an official termination in 2018, demanding compensation from the government for a breach of the contract.
The court subsequently awarded the company an amount of $170 million to be paid by Ghana.
A country already in debt is likely to be greatly affected by this judgement debt and yet little is known with regards to how this debt will affect us financially going forward. Worrying enough, majority of the Ghanaian people do not even know how this debt came about, the implications of this debt on our already broken economy. The media has done little in education the general public on how serious this debt will affect the country.
Little education was given on the issue of salaries for the spouse of the president and his vice. Little is known with regards to when this initiative was implemented, how it came about and what it means to the public purse. The media is doing little to help the ordinary Ghanaian in understanding what is going on in the country.
Holding the government accountable to the people is one of the top most priority of the media and yet little can be said in that regard. The media has failed in holding the government accountable to the people on many occasions. The president decision to rent a private jet for his international duty was not treated seriously by the media putting into consideration the fact that the country is in debtand the people are calling on the government to fix the country.
Parliament decision to come together to loot the people by approving loans to purchase vehicles for themselves was treated lightly by the media knowing the implications it will have on the economy.
The truth of the matter is that the system has failed the ordinary Ghanaian. When I say the system, I mean the government, the legislative arm is known to be full of lies and fake promises making sure the rules always favor them. The executive is known for formulating policies and initiatives that tends to enrich them at the end of the day. The judiciary which is known for holding the sacred duty of ensuring justice cannot be trusted by the ordinary Ghanaian because justice can be bought and the law always favor those in authority.
It is therefore the duty of the media as the fourth realm of the estate to stand on its ground and work in the interest of the people, giving voice to the voiceless, holding the government accountable to the people by bring to light the wrong doings of government official that tends to affect the country negatively. Also making sure in-depth analysis, reportage and investigations are done on government policies and initiatives to help the ordinary Ghanaian to understand these policies and initiatives so that they can share their ideas and opinions on them. I believe the only way the media can help in promoting accountable journalism is by publishing accurate, factual, and balanced information and this can be done properly by paying less attention to timeliness. The media has the power to change the destiny of a country and I believe the Ghanaian media has the means to change this country into a better one, thus by working in an ethical and legal framework and putting the interest of the public above everything.
Student, Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ)
Email: [email protected]
Source: Daniel Sowah