Media aiding an already failed system?

Democracy and the media are like the two sides of a coin. One cannot work without the other. For a country to develop economically, socially, and politically it has to be built on democratic 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 have 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 have done an incredible job over the past few years. But with current happenings in the country, little could be said in that regard.

In my view, the media to a large extent have failed in performing some of their important functions; with regard 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 competition as to which media house publishes 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 are 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.

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 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 yet little is known with regard to how this debt will affect us financially going forward. Worryingly enough, majority of the Ghanaians do not even know how this debt came about, the implications of this debt on our already broken economy.

The media have done little in educating the general public on how serious this debt will affect the country. The president’s 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 distress and the citizens are calling on the government to fix the country.
Parliament decision to approve 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 favour them. The Executive is known for formulating policies and initiatives that tend 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 favours those in authority. It is, therefore, the duty of the media as the fourth estate of the realm to stand their ground and work in the interest of the people, giving voice to the voiceless, holding the government accountable to the people by bringing to light the wrong doings of government officials which tend to affect the country negatively.

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 have the power to change the destiny of a country and I believe the Ghanaian media have what it takes to change this country into a better one.

Student, Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) Email:
By Daniel Sowah

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