Many young journalists particularly females yearn to be on television. But is that all there is to journalism? No. I took the decision in December 2000 to repeat my internship at the GBC radio newsroom when I was offered the opportunity to try TV after doing radio for a month (November 2000) and I don’t regret it.
I don’t blame young journalists who want nothing but to see themselves on TV. Why? Society has made it so. Many think journalism is all about radio and television. The louder you are on radio irrespective of how substandard, dishonest, biased or shallow the analysis – the more society hails you. In that world, it doesn’t matter if a presenter has had formal training or not because politicians and their followers hail them and hold them as the yardstick to professional journalism in Ghana. To buttress my point, some media owners pay PROFESSIONALLY trained journalists less than the untrained ones who have the microphones.
Yesterday, the President and Commander-in-chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo met journalists in Accra to account for his six months tenure in office. As expected, the questions from the journalists have been scrutinised on and off social media.
I was even among those who posted “Bernard Avle is in a comfortable lead,” in appreciation of his question on loans secured by the government in the first quarter of this year. One friend described his question as “NDC.” I was not surprised because we live in a country where one can hardly raise pertinent issues without being tagged. This friend is an adult who should know that the loans secured during JM’s tenure will not be paid by NDC folks. Neither will loans secured under this government be paid by NPP folks. All of US and our unborn children will be paying off the loans. Debts don’t know NPP, NDC, CPP, PPP and GCPP etc etc. The key issue is ensuring the moneys raised are put to good use for our benefit.
Back to Bernard Avle, he is a fine broadcaster who doesn’t joke with his work. But it’s most unfortunate and unfair for a lawyer to state that Bernard is the ONLY sensible, reasonable and serious journalist in Ghana. He even had people to support him yesterday. I would not have given it much attention if it had come from an autopilot who “sees, hears and speaks no evil” so long as it benefits his/her political party and NOT Ghana.
Majority of my colleagues at the event asked salient questions bordering on our daily wellbeing so I won’t mention names. The important thing is they did their best despite not having the chance to follow up.
Now, these are my questions to the lawyer and those who share his sentiment:
– How many journalists do you know in Ghana?
– Are you able to diligently follow their works in the newspapers, TV, radio, online etc etc?
– Does journalism involve only radio presentation?
– How can you hold such sweeping position based on Presidential encounters?
– Are you aware most media houses have different schedules for their journalists? Are you aware there are Presidential Correspondents in most media houses?
– Do journalists who hit the rural areas to highlight developmental challenges not matter?
– Are you aware journalism is not only about politics which you so love, eat, drink and sleep?
– Are you aware there will be no one to defend you one day if ALL journalists are cowed into submission?
It’s good to criticise but it’s most unfair to generalise and sweep all journalists under the carpet because of a single or even multiple presidential encounters.
Kudos to the hundreds of unsung journalists who are breaking their backs daily to better the lot of ordinary citizens. Your impact on society is more important than praise singing.