I wouldn’t personally pursue such a policy.

NPP-1-300x203.jpgI am here, of course, talking about the widely publicized decision by the leaders of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to summarily boycott the Accra-based Neat and Okay Fm radio stations (See “NPP Boycotting Neat, Okay Fm Is Suicidal – Governance Expert” Kasapafmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/5/16).

I suppose this has something to do with Mr. Adakabre Frimpong-Manso’s allegation that the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party has threatened the Neat-Fm program host several times in the recent past, because Mr. Frimpong-Manso has made the vindictive diarrheal habit of broadcasting unflattering statements and stories about Nana Akufo-Addo.

I have already written one column dealing with this subject. But even before my previous article on the subject was published, Mr. Frimpong-Manso was widely reported to have retracted his allegation and unconditionally apologized to Nana Akufo-Addo. Predictably, the credibility and sincerity of Mr. Frimpong-Manso’s retraction and apology have been impugned by both supporters and detractors of the three-time New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate. I will therefore not waste much time discussing any aspects of the preceding observations. The plausible presumption here, of course, is that whatever grievance the key NPP operatives had with the proprietors of Neat and Okay Fm stations would have been amicably resolved by now.

What drew my attention back to this subject again was the report that Dr. Ransford Gyampo, the University of Ghana political scientist, had cautioned the NPP leaders against their unreserved decision to boycott the two Accra-based radio stations. According to the news report, Dr. Gyampo thought the decision was suicidal because both Neat-Fm and Okay-Fm had a large audience of Akan/Twi speakers. The latter linguistic group is, of course, the dominant medium of expression in Ghana.

On the face of his argument, Dr. Gyampo may be right. However, the real issue at stake here is social justice, that is, the prudent and judicious balance of truth and fairness. On the latter two counts, the NPP operatives appear to be fully convinced that the proprietors of Neat and Okay Fm have not conducted themselves above board or dispassionately. The problem with Dr. Gyampo’s argument here is that it is inexcusably one-sided. For instance, the fact that both Neat and Okay Fm radio stations have a large audience of Akan speakers does not give the managers or administrators of these two radio stations the right to deliberately and maliciously condone the virulent defamation of any public figure, merely because they feel so inclined.

In the Adakabre Frimpong-Manso case, the talk-radio program host has categorically stated that he is cousins with Mr. Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, Nana Akufo-Addo’s main internal political rival and challenger through three NPP presidential primaries. And that the consecutive defeats of Mr. Kyerematen by Nana Akufo-Addo makes it both inexpedient and heretical for Mr. Frimpong-Manso to offer any public media support to the former Attorney-General and Justice Minister. What we, therefore, have here instead of sworn neutrality is a determined zeal on the part of the Kyerematen relative to thoroughly destroy the image and reputation of Nana Akufo-Addo.

Now, this approach to journalism clearly lacks professionalism and ethical balance. This is hardly what most thoughtful Ghanaians who turn on their radio sets and tune in to these programs expect to harvest from our reporters and newscasters. Dr. Gyampo is also one-sided in his argument because he fails to fully appreciate the fact that the NPP leaders, by their publicly announced decision to boycott both Neat and Okay Fm radio stations, could also significantly and negatively impact the magnitude of listeners who tune in daily to patronize or consume the programmatic fare of these two radio stations.

In other words, what we have here is a give-and-take, or symbiotic, situation in which both the NPP, on the one hand, and the owners and operators of Neat and Okay Fm stations, on the other hand, feed off the hands and plates of one another. Besides, long gone are the days when any government in power literally controlled the airwaves and radio programming in the country.

We cannot fault Dr. Gyampo for waxing so facile and naïve about the symbiotic dynamics of mass communication in the post-Internet era. He is a political scientist, and so he may only be expected to fully appreciate the political dimensions and implications of communication theories and practices. Were he a communications specialist, like yours truly, the Legon academic would also fully appreciate the fact that mass communication is inescapably interactive as well as being about social responsiveness and responsibility.

Source; Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]


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