- Recent banter between on-air personality, Afia Schwarzenegger and parliamentarian, Kennedy questions the sanctity of Ghana's media airwaves
- Both conflicting parties clearly violated the ethics of their careers as journalist and parliamentarian respectively
- Questions remain as to whether the GJA should sanction Afia and authorities of Okay FM for the breach of its code of ethics regarding use of decent language
Editor's Note: The recent banter between on-air personality Afia Schwarzenegger and parliamentarian Kennedy Agyapong has attracted much concerns with regards to the sanctity of Ghana's on-air media. This write up, which bears the editorial responsibility of journalist, Charles Ayitey assesses the damage both public figures caused to Ghana's era of freedom of speech
Over the past years, the diversity of Ghana's vibrant media landscape has transmuted to what political and communications experts fear, an impudence of recklessness and self conceitedness. Prior to the era when Ghana's public radio was mainly charged with the duty of development journalism and national togetherness, the opposite is what can be said of especially in the private media scene.
The opening of the media spectrum to private participation since 1995, even though has deepened the lot of our democracy has also deepened the cracks of our united force as a nation. Fast-tracking to today, it remains a veritable fact, that the main challenge(s) of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), National Media Commission (NMC) other media regulatory entities has been the current trend of vulgarism and political warfare both in the traditional (TV and Radio) and modern (Online and Satellite) media.
Speaking of vulgarism, our recent experience with a radio personality and politician comes to mind. Radio presenter, Afia Schwarzenegger, and parliamentarian Kwabena Agyepong ditched the dignity of Ghana's media landscape into an everlasting description of shame and impudence.
Afia Schwarzenegger And The Duty Of Journalism
One of the main duties of the journalist has been to educate, inform and entertain (aside several other code(s) of ethics stipulated by the GJA). To this effect, radio personalities, both on-air and off air are expected to uphold the dignity of journalism and free speech even in times when their dignity, intellect or experience are being challenged. Unfortunately, this was not what we saw and continue to see with regard to the controversial radio personality, Afia Schwarzenegger. This is a 'media personality' noted for not championing any developmental course nor advocacy but rather for her ability and capacity to inflict insults and insinuations live on television and radio against targeted groups and persons who she;
1. May have a personal issue(s) with;
2. Severely wishes to vilify on cases of personality attacks, or
3. Crazily dislikes
We have seen this in the likes of the controversial pastor, Bishop Obinim, professional local boxer, Bukom Banku , on-air TV personality Deloris Frimpong Manso (Delay) and even the recent past HIV/AIDS ambassador, Joyce Dzidzor. But most importantly, we still clearly remember the embarrassing development with the parliamentarian, Kennedy Agyepong.
But the question here remains; who watches the watchdog in such a development? It is amazing how the National Media Commission (NMC) nor the GJA never brought the outspoken on-air presenter to order whenever she always went wrong.
For many of us journalists, we have the strongest conviction that Afia Schwarzenegger lacks the basic tenets of broadcast media and that it was left to the very media houses she worked for and continues to work with to train her a such!
Kennedy Agyepong And The Decency Of Ghanaian Politics
There is not much to say about the outspoken politician, Kennedy Agyapong but much of his political history begs the question of whether or not Ghanaian political discourse revolves around the 'unrefined' arguments of a politician. In as much as Mr Agyapong is well loved for his philanthropic duties as a politician and parliamentarian, his recent decision to swathe into the vulgar mess of verbal exchanges with the said on-air personality is severely unwelcoming.
To summarize the very words to describe Kennedy Agyepong's actions, I believe the very words of ace journalist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr suffices; he states - ...which of us can be happy with this situation when leading political figures are discussing what happens within the pants of individuals?…and the threat is that if you talk, I will expose your nakedness; nakedness in its real sense?...I mean it’s incredible! Incredible, the level of discussion and the threat is that if you talk, I will expose your nakedness; nakedness in its real sense; I mean it’s incredible. This is a country which has enormous problems and difficulties. This is a country in which up to today some of our people drink from the same source of water as sheep and cows….and our politicians; this is the level of the discourse? This is unbelievable. It is completely amazing!
The Ghanaian audience is yet to know what pans out of what exactly all relevant authorities would do with regards the Schwarzenegger-Agyepong media war. Order needs to be restored to Ghana's media airways because truth be told, what happened between both parties (Afia Schwarzenegger and Kennedy Agyepong) is a complete dereliction of the sanctity and responsibility of free speech in Ghana.