Sunday, 19 April 2009

Jaundiced rationalisations & un-intellectual bravado

Before I am accused, let me confess that it’s a difficult decision for me to go along the path I am about to take. Unfortunately, I have no choice. It will appear that some persons think that they have the exclusive right to putting their thoughts on paper without taking the opportunity to read through, correct the illogicality in the arguments they seek to make and spare us all who pretend to be journalists, the insults they attract for us all.

The journalism profession is becoming a jungle and at the same time a playground, with many not respecting practitioners. There are those who have chosen to interpret the perceived ‘fear’ people have of journalists and the media to mean respect, but it is not. What the people fear is the media’s perceived penchant to publish falsehood and destroy people’s image and the credibility of businesses. Gradually, this is moving away from perception to reality.

Reading some pieces written by persons who say they are journalists, I sometimes wonder. We may disagree but I enjoy reading the NPP’s Mustapha Hamid’s articles for language use and his supporting arguments. Many of the conclusions he draws, I may disagree with and that’s because politically we have different opinions. Yet, I enjoy reading them.

The above is not applicable to other write-ups, both features and what is put out as straight news sometimes. If you’ve had the chance to read the Searchlight for example, you’ll understand the point I am making.

I am the first to always admit how unintelligent I was back in school and the fact that I am not very well endowed academically, but I hope I’ll not be counted among the group of ‘poor writing’ journalists who just string English words together without paying attention to how the string of words sound when read out.

Reading a story penned by the Searchlight’s Managing Editor himself and not one of his reporters; you are compelled to ask yourself questions. And it is not the first time I have asked myself questions after reading his pieces. Not to be misconstrued, I am not suggesting that the writer is wrong because he is critical of the present government. I am just of the view that you can be critical without being insulting and unnecessarily vulgar.

To describe the president as a fool, irrespective of who the occupant of the seat is, can’t be a good thing to do. Or? And criticising the government or the president cannot be done only through insults. I have listened to and read a few pieces penned by Kwaku Baako that has been critical of the NDC and its leaders in opposition and now in government and never has he used such vulgar language and insults. Even when he takes on his most avowed ‘enemy’ Jerry Rawlings, he can be very harsh but not outright insulting.

We can all go that way, and we must all go that way, and this advice goes to all. That is to say I have read pieces in what one may call pro-NDC papers and the language has been most offensive.

Back to the substance of the Searchlight’s piece, the argument is made that the President “gathered a selection of journalists at the seat of government to justify his glaring failures... he has been an out and out failure.”

And his reason for that conclusion- Mills has appointed seventy-five ministers and deputy ministers and several others at the Presidency he claims are of ministerial rank. I am sure one of the most absurd claims was that Mills ‘outstripped’ his predecessor Kufuor when it comes to appointments. I am surprised by this claim, never mind the fact that the writer wishes to be known as a Critic of the Mills government.

Is the writer claiming that the Senior Special Aides, Special Aides, Senior Executive Assistants, Presidential Aides and the many hangers-on that paraded President Kufuor’s Osu Castle (and the hundreds of Special Assistants that roamed the ministries and state agencies) can be seen in the Mills administration?

Sincerely, we can go on and on with this and I am prepared to debate anybody who so wishes to engage me on the above. The only problem is that I am unable to jump from network to network speaking to stories in my papers or commentate on other people’s writings as many are want to.

I hold the view though that, while the President may not please everybody for political reasons, and also while it is true that the president cannot meet all promises 100%, we ought to be sincere when we have the chance to criticise. I have read and heard some criticisms and I respect those views because clearly they admit there’s been some marked progress, but a lot more can be done.

I am not one who glorifies mediocrity and anybody close to me or who has had dealings with me and is very sincere will admit to that. So I do not intend to be mediocre or unnecessarily petty when I say that Mills is miles ahead of Kufuor when it comes to achievements after 100 days in office. Why do I talk about mediocre? Because there are those who’ll say did I want Mills to stay on the same line as Kufuor?

By Kufuor’s 100th day, Jesus Christ. Indeed, I have said and I’ll repeat it any day that the NPP and its apologetics had been expecting that Mills will outdo Kufuor in terms of vindictiveness by his 100th day. Mills’ team should have proven how ‘wicked’ they could be by taking pressmen to the Ghana@50 houses and showed them how supposedly expensive furnishings and other household materials were dumped in a room to rot. Mills’ team should have stopped former officials from travelling until they receive clearance from the BNI and be made to rewrite their handing over notes through questioning at the SFO offices etc.

Indeed, I am inclined to believe that the failure of the Mills administration to engage in these acts is what accounts for the constant and sometimes unnecessary stoking of imaginary fire on issues about vehicles. That way they satisfy themselves by saying we too our cars have been seized. If not, I am wondering why operatives of the previous government and some party people will be sending text and calling radio program producers and hosts to continue the noise about cars as if that is what this country is all about.

President Mills I believe will leave Ghana far better than he came to meet it, and by the time he hands over to another NDC administration in 2016, Ghana will surely be a much better country. But he needs to act on a number of other issues that I want to believe he knows about in order that the agenda for a better Ghana does not get derailed.

And those officials and operatives who are not trying to help must be told that they will not be treated with kid gloves. I am not sure that the millions who voted and fought for the party will tolerate it and indeed the president will not, so they better watch it.

The lesser the reasons the NDC and its administration offers the opposition and its vociferous press to lambast them, the better and the culprits better be told that after the 100th day, many are saying enough is enough.

S. Xoese DOGBE
Managing Editor, dailyEXPRESS & JIVE Newspapers

1 comment:

nii ayertey aryeh said...

interesting and easy reading!
am especially fascinated by the title of this piece.

indeed the journalism profession in this country is becoming a jungle because the standards have been terribly lowered to look "attractive". one gets the sense that its been practiced out of malice other than an opportunity to inform and solve societal ills.
its therefore strange that the Ghanaian media has recently been tagged as the most 'inspiring'in Africa. even though you specifically did not address that issue am obliged to think that your concerns in this article suggests that you hold a contrary view of the praise.

personally,i ve chosen to be selective these days on what i read and listen to, because i want to learn the rudiments of the trade as some one who is aspiring to join the fraternity of the inky trade.'s unbelievable but the use of insulting language gets my pressure rising.

i'm outraged that suddenly even those who did not vote for the good old Prof are demanding that he fulfills his promises,mischievously shouting out that Ghanaians have regretted voting for Mills...when in fact they are only being bitter in opposition and had no hand in the success of Mills as their rhetorics sometimes suggest they did.

i'll also repeat that Mills far far ahead of Kuffour!