�Media cabal� comment unfortunate

I’m beginning to believe that desperation is gradually setting in the campaign of the presidential candidate of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), President John Dramani Mahama.

My belief stems from the fact that Mr. Dramani Mahama blamed a section of the Ghanaian media for not telling the “good” story of the NDC government to the electorate so as to make his campaign for his re-election much easier.

According to him, a certain group of people have taken control of the Ghanaian media and are standing in the way of the delivery of his government’s message; a situation he said was making it difficult for people to know the truth.

He said: “It is populism, a certain group has taken control of the media in Ghana and it makes it difficult for people to discern the truth. So as much as you are putting out the information, it is either being blocked or distorted.”

I must say I was not a bit surprised when President Dramani Mahama said this during his campaign in the Volta Region. But one would have expected Mr. Dramani Mahama not to attack the media as he himself belongs to the inky fraternity. In fact, the last time I checked at the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), he was still a paid member of the association with good standing. So it makes one wonder whether President Dramani Mahama “can’t think far.” Probably that is the case, and if it is so, then Mr. President I’m sorry to say your attack on Ghanaian media is unfortunate.

Although President Dramani Mahama wants the media to propagate the success story of the NDC to the electorate, he has not shown any respect to the media. Despite the fact that he is a paid member of the GJA, the NDC flag-bearer has since his assumption into office in 2013 as the President of the country never commended the media for their contributions to the country’s growing democracy. Instead Mr. Mahama takes delight in always denigrating the very profession he himself belongs to at the very least opportunity.

For instance, in the run-up to the 2012 elections, at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Presidential Debate, President Dramani Mahama belittled the journalism profession when he said one only needs a laptop to become a journalist. He forgot that apart from being good at English language which is a necessary tool in practicing journalism in Ghana, the ethics of the profession is also equally important for every practitioner so as to avoid the temptation of unbalanced and subjective reportage.

In another instance, President Dramani Mahama also branded media practitioners, particularly radio and television morning show hosts as lazy people, who do not do any research on stories they interview people on. And as if all these insults were not enough, just only last week he found it comfortable and convenient to descend again on the media by labeling some journalists as “cabal” because his message of “Changing Lives; And Transforming Ghana” is not well told by the media.

It is now becoming an established fact that the NDC party since its formation has never had any good relationship with the Ghanaian media. Many will recall that during the regime of the founder of the NDC, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, some prominent Ghanaian journalists suffered lots of brutalities and humiliations. For example, the likes of Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt, Kabral Blay Amihere, Haruna Attah, Kofi Coomson among others were incarcerated and humiliated just because they exposed the rot in that administration which lasted for 19 good years. In fact it was during that time that the lexicon “shit bombing” where human feces are spilled in front of offices became known in the country.

But the question I want to ask is: who should sell the NDC message? Is it the media or supporters and appointees of the President? The problem with the ruling government is that its appointees and communicators, contrary to what President Mahama thinks about them, are boastful and arrogant. Like all politicians they have soon forgotten that they are there to help the president to govern and not to lord over the ruled. And therefore, if there is anybody to be blamed or attacked for not spreading the gospel of President Dramani Mahama, then it should be his own appointees and communicators who have chosen to insult whoever criticises the governing style of the president.

President Dramani Mahama and his NDC must leave the media alone, and spare our ears with his cacophony. What he must know is that the December 7 polls will not be decided by what the media will say, rather the reality on the ground. How every Ghanaian feels in his or her present condition will be the key factor, and not the noise being made about the so-called achievements when in reality, it is the opposite.