Opinions of Wednesday, 26 October 2016
Columnist: Osei, Nana Yaw2016-10-26
President Mahama and the media cabal
The President of Republic of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama has lamented over the apathy of some Ghanaian media towards the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) transformational message under his stewardship.
For example, Mr. Mahama reportedly 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,” (Source: citifmonline.com, Tuesday October 18, 2016).
The foregoing assertion of Mr. Mahama presents two main hunches. The president’s assertion is almost invariably shrouded in his cognitive distortion (thinking error) that state-owned media project his transformational message and so private media must do same.
Secondly, the president accentuated the inability of his government to disseminate information to the public: a boomerang effect of kakistocracy (a system of government by the least qualified citizens) even so, I must admit, I admire some of his ministers. This article will be based on the aforementioned premonitions (Hunches).
Fellow countrymen, the state-owned media are working for their paymaster and therefore exaggerate the policies of the ruling government in order to appear good before their employer.
The sycophantic choruses sung by the journalists of the public media like Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times had never inured to the benefit of all. Journalists who publicly criticized a given ruling government were dealt with a lethal blow relative to their profession.
For example, Mr. Kwame Gyasi of University of Ghana Business School who was a columnist at the Spectator Newspaper lost his job as a columnist with a change of government in 2009. Mr. Egbert Faibille, a journalist and a legal practitioner who was a host of Ghana Television’s (GTV) talk show program, “Talking Point” was sacked as soon as NDC government came to power in 2009. Under President Kufour’s administration, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr was almost blacklisted from GTV programs.
All governments in Ghana are guilty of being saboteurs of journalists who revealed information that went against the government. In cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortion (thinking error) is the way individual’s mind convinces him/her of something that is not true.
In the individual psychotherapy espoused by Alfred Adler (1870-1937) thinking error is known as “mistaken beliefs”. Mistaken convictions are formed based on individual’s own experience. Could Mr. Mahama’s experience in censoring the media be a motivating factor for his thinking about media cabal?
Certainly, president Mahama’s own experience of media censorship partly motivated him for his thoughts about media cabal blocking his transformational message. Just as his government and previous governments had engaged in media censorship, Mr. President thinks the private media are paying him back by thwarting his message from getting to the public.
In 2012, the NDC government with Mr. Mahama as the then vice president, blacklisted MultiMedia Ghana Limited, for a perceived bias. This was clear indication of media censorship in Ghana since 1992. I am tempted to believe that Mr. Mahama, not professor Mills, was behind the 2012 censorship of Multimedia Ghana limited. He has confirmed that with his media cabal allegation.
An American psychiatrist and behavioral scientist at Stanford University Medical School, Professor David D. Burns asserted that when you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel and behave. Simply put, if we can learn to think about other people in a more positive and realistic way, it would be far easier to resolve conflicts and develop rewarding personal and professional relationship. The government must be fair in dealing with public media entities in order to relieve himself of his mistaken convictions about “media cabal” in Ghana.
The president’s transformational message is not getting to the people because many citizens do not respect some of his ministers. Assuming Mr. Okudjeto Ablakwa, briefing University professors on government policies on university or tertiary education, psychologically, the message will not go anywhere because Mr. Ablokwa is bereft of respect from teachers of tertiary educational fraternity.
There is no media cabal, my noble president, but your lack of disdain for putting a round peg in a square hole is the problem. Many Ghanaians disapprove Mr. Ablokwa as a minister in charge of tertiary education. For example, in April 15, 2015, college of education students boycotted Okudzeto Ablakwa at the campus of Wesley College of education in Kumasi.
In April 13, 2016, Mr. Ablokwa and his colleagues were snubbed by UCC students. Mr. President all these incidents were red flag signaling the level of disapproval of ministers like Mr. Ablokwa. Mr. Fifi Kwetey for example, admitted before parliamentary appointment committee that he was a vitriolic liar.
How can your message get to the people with ministers like Ablokwa and Fifi Kwetey?
Today, what is happening to tertiary education in Ghana under Mr. Ablokwa? Polytechnics had been converted into technical universities without adequate technical schools to feed them and technology-driven lecturers to instruct students.
The current economy is incapable of offering employment opportunities for graduates from existing universities. Instead of thinking about how to find jobs for these unemployed graduates, the government is craving for more universities.
Proliferation of fake doctoral degrees partly because the minister in charge of tertiary education is not fit for the portfolio.
Professor Prosper Yao Tsikata and Dr. Kobla Dotse had written many articles about the fake doctoral degrees in Ghana but all to no avail. Mr. President, sectors like education, health, energy, agriculture, foreign affairs, defense and finance, whether deputy or substantive minister, require an experienced individual.
Tertiary education requires a whole minister of State in charge of tertiary education. Ministers like Spio Garbrah, Mahama Ayariga, Dr. Kumbour, and other experienced individuals in NDC or other qualified Ghanaians regardless of their political affiliations are needed to support Professor Jane in education.
There is no media cabal blocking your message. If a whole government in charge of information and communication could have its messages being blocked by private individuals, it tells us how effective the government is.
President Mahama’s involvement in sacking NDC critics like Mr. Kwame Gyasi hitherto of Spectator Newspaper and blacklisting Multimedia Ghana limited, motivated his thinking of “media cabal” sabotaging his transformational agenda.
No media entity is blocking your message but lack of respect for some of your ministers is blocking your message. God Bless Our Homeland Ghana. “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” (Socrates).
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Nana Yaw Osei (Padigo)