Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby

Firebrand former Chief Executive of defunct [email protected] Secretariat, Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby aka Tarzan, has described Ghana?s media landscape as a ?jungle? where gatekeepers are turning into ?poachers? , adding that their actions are derailing the democratic gains made so far.

He said journalists had become ?uncontrollable and arrogant? and accused them of becoming ?collaborators? of the rot in the system.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, a former Chief Executive of Volta River Authority (VRA), was speaking at the third Freedom Power Lecture 2012, organised by the Center for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) under the theme ?Assessing Ghana?s Democracy: What?s Right, What?s Wrong and the Future?, in Accra yesterday.

He explained, ?They are uncontrollable and arrogant because the media believes its freedoms are unfettered and without bounds and collaborators because its priorities are increasingly dictated by the monetary inducements from the unseen puppetry of the ruling political elite and the blackmail of exposure by supposedly erring citizens or public officials.?

Speaking on the topic ?Taking Liberties With Our Freedoms?, Dr. Wereko-Brobby, who was in charge of the secretariat that supervised Ghana?s 50th Independence anniversary in 2007, also described the country?s media as a ?jungle?.

?It is ironical that the two principal contestants for the Presidency of Ghana in this year?s general elections have both fallen victim to the ?unreasonable? and ?untenable? insistence by Ghana?s media that their freedoms are unfettered and absolute and cannot be subjugated and limited by the equally legitimate rights and freedoms of their fellow citizens.?

He noted that events in the past since the inception of the 1992 Constitution had shown that players in the media were not prepared to be accountable to the people and any attempt to introduce reforms had been ?blocked? or ?fought tooth and nail? by the players.

He said the situation had left the National Media Commission (NMC) ?to remain the toothless bulldog that the framers of the constitution intended and successive elected governments have maintained?.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby stated that currently, ?Ghana?s media has travelled into the jungle and quagmire of no law to regulate the broadcasting industry; no limits to how far FM stations can transmit; no rules as to what and when to put on as content; no control of language, accuracy or legality of what goes out; no enforcement of constitutional rights to equal weight of accusation and rejoinder; no control on bad language or offensive behaviour and no enforcement of people?s rights by a seemingly cowed and blackmailed judiciary?.

He said that was giving cause for concern and there was the need to address excesses in the media if the country?s democratic future was to be guaranteed.

?The political class do not ever need to pass oppressive and draconian laws to trample on the rights and the freedoms of the people as long as they can get a suppliant press to assist them in dressing the denials in the clothes of strengthening democracy and grassroots participation.

?The examples of the travails of Joy FM in the former and Oman FM in the latter should serve as a timely warning to Ghana?s media that coming events cast their own shadows, and that unless the media takes urgent steps to get out of the same bed with the political class and return to its noble role as the people?s watchman,? he noted.

By William Yaw Owusu

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