The vilifications must stop now

THE relevance of the media and the important role they play in the rapid Socio-Economic Transformation of any Nation, be it developed or developing, have been acclaimed worldwide. The...

THE relevance of the media and the important role they play in the rapid Socio-Economic Transformation of any Nation, be it developed or developing, have been acclaimed worldwide.

The third president of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, is on record as having said in 1797 that: “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I SHOULD not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”.

With this universal endorsement, one thing which is certain is that the media have continued to play a pivotal role in the development of nations as they continue to fulfill their agenda-setting role for national discourse.

However, in the course of setting agenda for discussion, some individuals or media organisations have done that based on their own parochial interests or self-desires. Throughout the world, it has always been this approach that continues to create problems for society. Fact is that the media are a two-edged sword—positive and negative things or roles that can build or destroy a very brilliant peacefully society.

In all these, examples abound. First in India when the Prime Minister, Indiara Ghandi, was assassinated, it was the amateur reportage that revealed the identity of her body guard who committed the dastardly act that led to factional reprisals and fatalities. The same thing can be said of events in Rwanda and Kenya, whose highly reprehensible acts of violence and brutalities led to fatalities and unrest.

But unfortunately, certain elements in the media continue to ignore the basic principle of the profession by their blatant failure to cross-check their facts, a basic principle in the journalism profession, create doubts, arouse interests and readership, leading to confusion in the minds of their readership and audiences.

This can be described as sheer unprofessionalism and lazy journalism. The fact that one wields or holds the pen and has the advantage of publishing or broadcasting does not mean the person who is affected by our publications or broadcasts, does NOT have the same rights.

In so doing, their actions and inaction do not only create confusion but cause a lot of embarrassments to individuals, groups and organisations. The Akans say: “Suhye fa yemmua” to wit”, “we do not roof one section of a building when the other side/ section has not been completed”.

Just a couple of days ago a hitherto credible media organisation with some of its stations based in Accra brought out an expose that purported to impugn corrupt practices in the contract that was signed between the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Jospong Group of Companies for the supply or provision of a number of dustbins details of which are published in this edition.

In a reaction contained in a press statement, the Executive Chairman of the Group, Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong has well articulated the terms of the contract. Under the agreement his company was to pre-finance the project and embedded in the contract is the condition that if the company was unable to execute or comply with the terms of financing or executing the project within 24 months, it could withdraw by stating its disinterestedness.

Jospong Group therefore wrote to inform the Ministry of its desire to activate the release clause which it pro-actively did within the mandatory period as stipulated in the terms of the contract.

As the reaction from the company rightly indicates, there is not any iota of truth in the allegations to the effect that the contract sum is inflated, or has been inflated. In the same vein, the company has vehemently denied allegations that it has also inflated the cost of bins.

We of the EcoWatch are therefore alarmed that the media organisation came out to accuse the company as having inflated the cost of the bins. For the truth is that, the contract was not abrogated because of corruption or inflation of the cost like the media organisation in question will like us to believe.

We maintain that it is about time that as a country we stopped undermining the genuine effort of the people whose invariable works continue to enhance the lives of the people. Here is a Ghanaian company which has changed the face of environmental and sanitation management of the country for the past decade or so.

It has systematically worked professionally to be recognised as one of the best not only in Africa but the world at large and if for nothing at all, it needs our encouragement and cooperation to do the best for the country instead of being undermined.

We cannot only make Ghana better for ourselves and that situation or condition that prevailed in this country can only be improved by Ghanaians ourselves and therefore any attempt by some Ghanaians to destroy their own cannot be tolerated in any sane society.

Nobody can come and develop this country for us except if we resolve to be patriotic. In doing so, we need to criticise constructively and offer productive suggestions that can help build a united and prosperous nation.

It is only through this that we can encourage indigenous Ghanaian entrepreneurs to venture into other critical areas of the National economy such as the Jospong Group has done.

Therefore, EcoWatch maintains that we need to close our ranks and forge closer cooperation and synergies as a people. Indeed, the Jospong Group (Zoomlion) and its Executive Chairman, Dr Agyepong, have not only revolutionised but completely transformed the sanitation and environmental sectors of the country and therefore deserve to be praised and commended instead of these deliberate vilifications.