Catholic Sacred Heart

My attention has been drawn to a news item published on Ghanaweb.com by Starrfmonlone.com on the 8th August 2016, with the heading ‘Financial scandal hits Catholic Church in Upper East”. (see http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Financail-scandal-hits-Catholic )

Catholic Sacred HeartHaving read the news item, I have been utterly outraged and scandalised, not so much of the content of the news item, but by the shear reckless gutter journalism exhibited by Starrfmonline.com; and it’s in tendered consequence of stirring up trouble among the Catholic faithful of the Bolgatanga Sacred Heart Cathedral.

I was very shocked and still reeling in shock that a media house that worth its salt, would allow its platform to churn or put out irresponsible news item of this sort without subjecting same to any strict application of the code of ethics of Journalism.

First of all, the piece was riddled or characterised with incoherence, illogic story lines, fabrications, unsubstantiated allegations and at best out right damn lies. And yet, management or the news editor of the Starrfmonline.com irresponsibly published it.

Before I delve into the hollowness of the substance of the news item shamelessly put out by Starrfmonline.com, I would wish to serve notice to the Journalist, owners and management of Starrfmonline.com, that as a member of the Bolgatanga Sacred Heart Cathedral; having been a Mass Server and also having served in various leadership roles in the past in the Church, I intend to join the current leadership of the Church to seek redress for the hurt and damage caused to the whole of the Sacred Heart Cathedral fraternity by the irresponsible journalism of Starrfmonline.com.

To make the news item appear credible to unsuspecting readers, the opening paragraph was captioned “Prominent figures at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the biggest Catholic parish in the Upper East region, have blown the cover off what has been described as the biggest financial scandal to have rocked the Seat of the Bishop in decades” Yet, throughout the whole news item Starrfmonlin.com could not evidence the names of those so called prominent figures except, one Fred Apana, who allegedly is the source of the irresponsible and reckless Journalism by Starrfmonline.com. My bane with this write up is not to do with the source and or accuracy of the story emanating from Starrfmonline.com, since I do not have or shown any evidence of the source of the news coming from a real human being other than “Bolga Pito Bar Mafia” concocted story, deliberately put out to cause mischief.

Again, a cursory look and or study of most, if not all, the various allegations numerated by Starrfmonline.com in their news item, were unsubstantiated and one would have expected a bit of circumspect in the reportage. In order not to incite passion, hurt and conflict within the church and among the Atulibabisi community.

The highest deceitfulness and damn right idiocy of the piece was the deliberate attempt to portray to the whole world that there was apparent agitations within and outside, the church with this diabolic story line “The leading parishioners, looking very furious in open protests in Bolgatanga, the regional capital where the cathedral is located, are bashing the authorities of the holy place very hard for “looting God’s money” and for “abuse of the altar”. This was preposterous and below the belt. When indeed Starrfmonline.com knew very well there was no protest what so ever by any group of parishioners and yet peddled falsehood in the name of press freedom.

Talking to a number of members and friends from within and outside the Church and also from the Atulibabisi community about the unfortunate news item and all have been horrified. And cannot come to terms with this senseless and mischievous news item, coming from Starrfmonline.com. Particularly, following the heels of the Montie 3 saga.

As a Human Rights and Social Justice Advocate, I would be the last person to call for media censorship and or the infringement of freedom of expression by the media. Neither does one take delight in seeing Journalists nor owners of media houses sent to jail or made to pay out huge damages costs in the law courts for irresponsible news reportage.

However, if responsible Journalism and the strict adherence of the GJA code of ethics is not applied or seen to be applied, the likes of Starrfmonline.com will supervise the demise of their businesses and profession.

David Atugiya
A concerned Elder and Member of the Bolgatanga Sacred Heart Cathedral

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