Sulemana Braimah, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation of West Africa ( (MFWA), has disclosed that, acts of intolerance against the media have worryingly escalated in the country.
According to him, issues described by Sam Jonah concerning the media space are acts meant to silence people. His comments follow Sam Jonah’s speech which characterized the media as one in which the “culture of silence has returned”.
Mr Sam Jonah revealed that under President Akufo-Addo’s administration, the courage to stand up for the truth… and “common good is lost”.
Corroborating this, Mr. Braimah revealed that the situation has been in existence under the Akufo-Addo administration.
“I think it has been something that we have been building up, tolerating and almost nurturing and watering and grooming.
“Except that I should say in the last four years under the Akufo-Addo administration the acts of intolerance, attempts to silence people, I think it has grown quite more. So, it has become more manifest to people than perhaps it used to be.”
Further commenting on the culture of silence, Mr. Braimah explained that the intolerance has made Ghanaians stay out of public debates concerning public policies.
“I don’t want to endure the robust debates that go on and so on and so forth.
“For some of them it is as a result of perceived inconvenience, for others it is simply because of the enjoyment of the booty. So even as they see things go wrong, they dare not comment because then they take themselves out of the possible beneficiaries of the system.”
Oppressions by security forces
Additionally, Mr. Braimah revealed that another contributing factor to the culture of silence is the use of state security forces too. The move, he explained, oppresses people with dissenting views on issues.
He further revealed that, government has also deployed these security agencies to silence “vociferous” persons commenting on state affairs.
“From people who have been hired and being paid to aggressively attack views that are contrary to that of government, to the state institutions being used against persons who appear to be vociferous and expressing themselves about national affairs, to that the state security are sometimes deployed against people who are vociferous.
“And by state security; the police, the national security, the BNI, and so on have all been on one occasion or the other deployed against forces that are quite strong against views of government.”
Media landscape in the country
Delivering a speech at a Rotary Club function, Sir Sam Jonah opined that, the country’s media has become “polarised and partisan”.
As a result of this, he stressed that media houses owned by politicians lacked objectivity in their activities. These politicians, he noted may have interest “swaying voters one way or the other”.
“Independent media practice seems to have faded and journalism has become a conveyor belt for political propaganda, insults, and acrimony.
“What is the status of the role of the media in holding the executive, judiciary, and legislature accountable as the fourth estate of the realm? Is it enough to just report issues? Where are the investigations? Where are the facts? These are hard questions that the media must ask and re-assess its role in reshaping our country’s future”.
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