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GFA rented press

… but the voice of the people is the voice of God!

GFAEvents that have unfolded since the Black Stars arrived in Kumasi last Tuesday to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations tie against the Cranes of Uganda have compelled me to do this piece. Though with a heavy heart.
As a journalist and a Public Relations person, the least I can do is to introspectively piece a write-up about the media but it has become imperative.

Imperative, because the lack of professionalism in this enviable journalistic institution, the fourth estate of the realm is not only disheartening but shameful and humiliating for the media practitioner of today.

For the purposes of this topic, i will stick with “Sports Journalism” and or Sports presentation in Ghana.

Gone are the days when, Sports journalism was highly respected and adored by the system. The likes of Joe Lartey, Joe Tetteh Koffi, Joe Aggrey, Felix Abayate, Carl Tuffour, Kwaku Ofosu Asare, Sarfo Abebresse, Kwabena Agjei Agyapong, Nii Lante Vandapourje, Kwabena Yeboah, etc gave some of us great course to pursue this hitherto enviable profession called journalism.
In recent times decent media guys like, Christopher Opoku, Nana Kwaku Agyeman, Gary Al-Smith, Dan Kwaku Yeboah, Patrick Osei Agyeman, Tony Bebli, Joe Lakka, Maurice Quansah, Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo, Jerry Kwame Ayensu, Saddick Obama, William Eza, Veronica Commey, Nana Darkwa and a few more, have continued to show promise by keeping to the principles of the profession, even in the face of compelling factors that could easily affect their stern stance is keeping to the spirit and letter of the ethics of journalism ablaze.

A good number of sports journalists have sadly sold their conscience, they have became appendages, spine doctors and boot-lickers of the Ghana Football Association either by influence, intimidation, hypocrisy, double-standardness, ignorance, illiteracy and what have you.

They continue to throw the ethics of the profession to the win just to please their pay masters within the corridors of the GFA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Even though, the 2004 Constitution of the Ghana Journalists Association is categorical that, in declaring our faith in, and commitment to fundamental Freedom of expression and media pluralism in Ghana and affirming our resolve, the journalist must; serve as the WATCHDOG of the people’s rights and liberties and against all forms of infringements or abuse of rights, provide the attainment of high professional standards, integrity and media accountability, strive for public accountability, to promote democratic good governance and social cohesion by members of the mass media and to ensure self-regulation among members, these spin-doctoring journalists will have nothing to do with this. How sad.

They neither will pathetically make any sense of the 17 Articles enshrined in the code of ethics of the practice of journalism. All in the name of bock-licking the system.

A good number of media practitioners have suffered all kinds of attacks, even to death in practicising their profession because, as usual their reportages at one point or the other do not please some people. That’s understandable. And that’s why articles 9 and 10 of the code of ethics of the profession make room for corrections and rejoinders.
In article 9, the code states categorically that, Whenever there is an inaccurate or misleading report, it should be corrected promptly and given due prominence. An apology should be published whenever appropriate”. Whiles articles 10, on rejoinders, states that, “A fair opportunity for rejoinders should be given to individuals or organizations; any report or write-up affecting the reputation of any individual or organization without a chance to reply is unfair and must be avoided by journalists.”

These codes are guiding principles which when not adhered to, can lead the journalist to the brink of slander, libel, contempt, all embodied in defamation of character for which the journalist can pay dearly for in several forms depending on how affected persons decide to remedy their would-have-been bruised reputation(s) at the edge of the pen or microphone.
So even though the journalist in practicing his profession as part of the Freedom of Expression under the Rule of Law as enshrined in the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana, these expressions must be within the whims of the law under the same 1992 constitution. So there is the question of checks and balances in the supreme law of the land-the 1992 constitution.
So then, it beats my imagination why the media would allow itself to be used by powers that be and why powers that be would desperately want to influence the media when in fact the question of checks and balances has been clearly spelt out in the 2004 Constitution of the Ghana Journalists Association, the Code of ethics of Journalism and the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

Sports journalism in Ghana today stinks, to say the very least!
All kinds of people have sadly found themselves on radio and television claiming to be “Sports Journalists”. They spew all kinds things, thereby polluting the airwaves in the name of sports journalism. And that’s a sure course for worry. What has broken the camel’s back in these hellish days of Sports journalism is local radio. Listening to shylock “uneducated” “Sports journalists” on local radio across the country is actually a headache. And as a journalist, I must be very concerned. And that’s why it’s my concern. And that concern is why I do this article with a very, very heavy heart. Of a truth sports journalism thrown to the gutters by charlatans, half-backed journalists and square pegs in round holes on our precious but perishable airwaves.

Reports are rife how powers that be hold meetings with, if you like seasoned sports journalist, induce them, dictate to them, set agenda for them to spin in the media, all as part of efforts at solidifying their position of power even where it’s as crystal as calico, that they have failed.
These disgraceful media guys are promised anything including visas, expedition with the national teams, appointments to the media committees of the GFA, management committee membership roles, cash and you name them at the expense of their integrity and image. To the extent that powers that be in sports virtually haul “respected” media guys before them to explain why they carried one report or the other is unimaginably disgraceful.

The Ashanti Regional Correspondent of the reputable media group, Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr. Daniel Kenu is attacked and heavily assaulted by a tug of macho men led by former Black Stars player Bafour Gyan who is elder brother of the captain of the Black Stars, Asamoah Gyan and the media say what?

That Mr. Kenu asked what they thought was unreasonable question?
And that the timing of the question was wrong?
I don’t get. In any case who determines what the right time is for a journalist to ask a question? Who decides what question a journalist should ask at a press briefing?
We need to be serious in this country as journalists otherwise we will have ourselves to blame.
Folks, Daniel Kenu is an astute Journalist with many years of practice with a responsible media group including the Daily Graphic and its sister paper the Graphic Showbiz among others. The Graphic, like every media house has what we call, “Editorial Policy”. The PR people call it, “House Style”.
I vividly remember on that faithful Wednesday before the Press conference at the Miklin Hotel here in Kumasi, I had met Kenu at the Baba Yara Stadium, he asked me to make sure I attended the GFA Press Conference. I was adamant because I didn’t think anything different apart from the GFA showing arrogance towards the media would repeat itself. He tried to impress upon me to come along because as Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association in the Region there was the need for me to be present. He then shows me a whatsapp message sent to him by the Communications Director of the Ghana Football Association, Saani Daara detailing the programme of the FA in the Region. And that message was the very reason I didn’t attend the Press briefing, because I thought that at least the GJA deserved a an invitation to officially attend the briefing but for whatever reason(s) best known to the GFA, the GJA was not invited.

I was latter to read on social media how Kenu reportedly asked a question boarding on the disappearance of Castro and whether or not Asamoah Gyan had anything to do with it, as being rumoured about.

The report on TV3, gave me a clear understanding of the question and the subsequent reaction(s) by the GFA President and other media friends.
The ignorance of Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi regarding the motive of the seemingly harmless question sparked the controversy and its attendant situation where tugs led by Bafour Gyan attacked Mr. Kenu on Friday.

As a PR person, I thought, the GFA should have anticipated a question along the Castro controversy and prepared Asamoah Gyan accordingly because, as it stands there are more questions than answers surrounding Castro’s disappearance which is of paramount interest to Ghanaians. And rightly so, Kenu gave Asamoah Gyan the most glorious opportunity ever to make a case for himself by explaining why the rumour is unfortunate, why the seemingly “dead” the issue has become, then call on authorities to reignite their investigations towards unraveling the disappearance of his most trusted friend. For me Kenu was asking what I call, “the people’s” question, which question, Asamoah Gyan should have cashed in to save his face off the Castro saga.

The Manner and attitude of the GFA President made the question look mischievous because after all Kenu never accused, Asamoah Gyan but rather “asked” as question which Asamoah Gyan, could at worse simply have said, “no comment”.

Unless the GFA President thought that the press conference was being attended by a bunch of his rented press. The shameful bad nut media friends of his, whom he has and continues to manipulate to perpetuate his GFA agenda.

Kenu was on Friday, to be attacked by tugs lead by the elder brother of Asamoah Gyan at the Baba Yara Stadium. He had gone to take his accreditation for the game on Saturday. And therefore he was attacked in his line of duty. The reason the media must condemn the attacks in all forms without fear of favour.
Sadly, some media guys openly condemned Kenu and sort to praise the barbaric and dastardly backward-minded actions by the Bafour Gyan-led gang.
But the GJA in Ashanti won’t have any of that, and that explains why we issued a strongly-worded press statement that same night, condemning the unfortunate attacks after making a report to the police.
Many of our responsible colleagues joined in the campaign in condemning the attacks on Mr. Kenu and that is refreshing. At least, a call by the President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Dr. Affail Monney on me to congratulate the GJA for the stance, and his promise to take up the fight is encouraging enough for us to keep the fight for press freedom in this country.

Dr. Affail Monney is leading the national executives of the GJA to call on the Asantehene, Otumfou Osei Tutu II to thank him for gracing the 19th edition of the GJA Awards in Accra last Saturday at the State House in Accra. But highly on the agenda is the constant attack on the media in the Region. He will also call on the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP, Nathan Kofi Boakye to congratulate him for arresting Bafour Gyan for the assault and also to plead with him to ensure the matter is dealt with to its logical legal conclusion. The Ashanti GJA has also scheduled a meeting with DCOP Kofi Boakye where 50 senior journalists in the Region this week will deliberate the issue of security for the media. The GJA is keen on seeking justice for Kenu and by extension the media in general, because, one more attack on the media, just too many.
For the records, the former Ashanti Regional Chairman of the GJA, Mr. Samuel Enin who was editor of Ash FM and reporter for the Free Press newspaper was shot and killed some time ago. Morning show editor of Kapital radio Kojo Marfo was only two weeks ago shot three times in his thigh and admitted to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Erastus Asare Donkor of Luv Fm has repeated been attacked, many other sports journalists have received their fair share of verbal and physical attacks meant to intimidate them in their line of duty. And this has got to stop. And these attacks and assaults stop with these senseless attacks on Mr. Kenu.

If the GFA President and his cohorts at the GFA think they can continue to manipulate the media to deceive the ever sensitive Ghanaian soccer fan, am sure after Saturday’s game, they must be revising their notes. Of a truth, I perceive that, you can deceive all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can’t deceive all the people all the time. This must strike the GFA by now.

Apart from the sparse attendance at the Ghana-Uganda game even after slashing the rates to an all record low, as low as Gh5 and Gh2, the fans booed and jeered the Black Stars players whiles cheering the Ugandans. This is unlike Kumasi supporters. To the extent that the fans celebrated the Ugandan goal and booed the penalty awarded Ghana should be enough signals for the GFA to begin to respect the Ghanaian football fun.
In this day and age in the history of the Ghanaian economy where government can’t find money to fight the cholera scare in the nation’s capital, the Black stars must be thankful to the nation for investing astronomically in the team. And the least we expect is disrespect and disdain for the Ghanaian soccer fun.
If the GFA thinks that it can use its shylock rented press to deceive the people to milk the nation of its scare resources at the expense of the common tax-paying but increasingly poor Ghanaian in the national of football, they must be rethinking by now, because the voice of the people will continue to be louder. And the louder voice of the people, they say is the voice of the God.
Let the World know that, the GJA is not ready to negotiate away with Bafour Gyan and his tugs, not for all the rice in China. We demand justice from the security apparatus. And in DCOP Kofi Boakye, we trust to give the media justice.

DCOP Kofi Boakye, sir, you have the opportunity to make or break the respect and adoration you have garnered and continue to record on the backs of this case.
Let the pen or the microphone continue to be mightier than the Sword.

Writer is a Sports/Political Freelance Journalist.

Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association.
Email: Lbukarson76@yahoo.com
0244-831631

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