Editorial: UK-based social commentator, Prof Ghana has shared his opinion on journalists failing to query President John Dramani Mahama about recent claims that his Communications Director physically assaulted a journalist, at the president's recent interaction with the press. According to Prof Ghana, the journalists failed to stand up for their own rights!
President Mahama has been Deputy Minister of Communication and Minister of Communication in the past. Throughout his political career the President has been touted as a very likeable person and has maintained an excellent relationship with the media, many of whom stripped themselves of their journalistic neutrality and put on the garb of partisan politics to campaign for the President in 2012.
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A few months ago, the man appointed by the President to serve as his Communications Director and liason between the presidency and the media and who himself is a former journalist physically assaulted a journalist from the state broadcaster, GBC, and destroyed his equipment under rather odd circumstances. This was an extremely serious incident that persisted in the public space for quite sometime and about which some definitive action was demanded.
Sadly but unsurprisingly, there was never a public apology from the guilty official, STAN DOGBE. Ghanaians therefore looked up to his boss the President, the famed lover of the press and promoter of press freedoms, to use this opportunity to show decisive leadership and intolerance for indiscipline by taking drastic public action against STAN DOGBE for his brutish behaviour against a fellow journalist.
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Many were those who doubted and confidently stated that there was no way the President would/could reprimand Stan because of how close their relationship is. This set the stage for the President to prove the vast majority wrong.
Rather pathetically, let the records show that till today 14th January 2016, not a word has come from the President about the incident! Not one word! Stan continues to work as a 'good and faithful' servant of a president whose silence on the matter has been deafening.
Yet what did we see when Ghanaian journalists had the opportunity to quiz the President about anything and everything? Not a single question to him about why he has refused to comment about the incident or take action. Not a single question about whether he endorsed the actions of his trusted Communication Director physically assaulting a journalist and destroying his equipment. Not a single question about why a person of such violent nature continues to be paid by the Ghanaian tax payer to lord his position and influence over the very people who pay his salary.
Ghanaian journalists had the opportunity to thoroughly grill the President on this matter and demand a public apology from him! This after all was a matter that concerned a colleague journalist, and is one that could just as well have befallen any of those journalists assembled at the Flagstaff House for the press briefing.
Yet when it mattered most, the Ghanaian press failed to stand up and be counted. They failed to put their money where their mouth is. They failed to stand up and speak on behalf of a colleague. They failed to stand up and speak up in order to protect themselves in the practice of their profession!
A great opportunity lost..... Shame on Ghanaian journalists!