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Report On The Online Discussion On The Insults In The Ghanaian Media


YED calls setting up of decency standards by all media houses


The recent spate of Politicians and Radio Commentators resorting to insults and the use of offensive language in Ghana has attracted the attention of many including the President and some opinion leaders, calling for an end to it. The Youth Economic Dialogue (YED), a platform that promotes cooperation between stakeholders in youth development, i.e. Youth and Youth Organisations, Government and the Private Sector emphasizing their joint role of peaceful social change, organised an online discussion on the topic to gather from its members, practical ways of addressing the challenge with special emphasis on the role of Media, Political Parties/Government and the entire citizenry.
The participants included Media Practitioners, Civil Society practitioners, Student Leaders and Politicians. The discussion took place on the YED Facebook Group Page, http://www.facebook.com/groups/youtheconomicdialogue, and was freely accessible to all. To post a comment, participants had to be a member of the platform used for the discussion.

Summary of Discussion
Participants came to conclusion that insult on our airwaves is not a good practice and it requires a concerted effort to immediately arrest the canker. Media Houses, radio/TV commentators, Civil Society/ Clergy, owe it a responsibility to ensure civility on any platform that is used to communicate to majority of Ghanaians. The discussion arrived at some concrete steps that must be taken by the Media Houses, Political Parties and the Civil Groups in Ghana.
Role of Media
The Media, the fourth estate of governance, must lift up their game to a more responsible role of educating, informing and fetching concerns from the citizenry and it cannot happen with half-baked individuals, engaged under very offensive conditions as story tellers or “voice they don’t have, for the voiceless!”. The Media is a powerful tool for development and there is the need for all media houses to uphold that. Now, in Ghana, to be a successful politician is to read the archives and know in detail who said what, where and did what, when, spice it up with some semantics which when broken down amount to insults. It’s about time we shifted from the practice of just reviewing papers to discussing issues that bother on the socio-economic development of our communities and promote peace for sustainable growth. Media persons are the ones who entertain the noise of the political parties. The superior feeling of some individuals and groups and the limited professionalism in the media have all culminated into this burden on our collective shoulders. They need to name the parties and shame those whose stock in trade is raining abuses on the nation’s conscience.
The setting up of decency standards by all media houses, that seeks to check hosts/hostess and their panel members, is needed. Individuals and organizations must be sanctioned and if possible blacklisted from appearing on the sets anytime they flout the decency standards. The Media is the salvation of our ears and they must show the way.

Role of Political Parties
It is imperative to mention that the malfunctioning of internal party structures (e.g. disciplinary committee) to deal with issues of insults internally, contributes significantly to this problem. Leaders of Political parties must be seen punishing faithfuls who insult or use foul languages on the airwaves or during political activities. The attitude of our parties of always paying deaf ears to the internal insults does not equally help matters at all. Closely link with the above is the failure of leaders to openly condemn individuals who engage in the trading of insults. The President of the land and opposition leaders must walk their talk to boldly sanction state officials/appointees who appear to be insulting their opponents.

Role of the Civil Society
Civil societies have served as the third eye in every successful country and there is the need for them to add their voice to the call for sanity on our airwaves. Our clergy must be seen condemning politicians who engage in insults on our political landscape. The citizenry must also call for sanity by openly rejecting media outlets which give room for politicians to engage in insult and the use of foul languages that seems alien to our cultural setting as a people. We should stop thinking that we are powerless because it is the media house or the dirty-mouthed politician/political party who control our lives.

The Youth Economic Dialogue urges all well meaning Ghanaians to join its campaign of promoting peace and issue-based campaign in the lead-up to the 2012 elections dubbed, “ISSUES or Lose my Vote 2012”. The aim of the campaign is to mobilize more than 500,000 young people to send a message to politicians that they should run an issue-based campaign. The campaign will move to hot spots touted as trouble zones to educate the youth on the need for them not to allow themselves to be used as instruments of destruction but rather, valuable assets in nation development. The modus operandi will be using Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and the Mass Media to mobilize, educate and inform the youth on the need to have a peaceful Ghana as the country approaches election 2012.
We urge all to get on board the campaign by signing up on our Facebook page: “ISSUES or Lose my Vote” (http://www.facebook.com/votewisely)

We are thankful to the following persons who contributed during the online discussion: Nana Yaw Adu Gyamfi, Nana Fredua Agyemang Ofori Atta, Davis Opoku Ansah, Bright Simons, Davis Adu Larbi, Harold Boateng, Collins Dakorah, Kwamena Bello, Awal Issahaku Kanawu, Nana Poku, Edward Kwareteng, Kobby Gomez Mensah, Peter Appiah-Danquah, Benedicta Lasi, Francis ab, Robert Dela, Donna T-M App

About YED
Youth Economic Dialogue (YED) is a programme including a community platform and a milestone event for current and future leaders to engage in a trans-generational debate on the issues, challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. In an effort to harness the energy, imagination and initiative of Africa’s youth in overcoming the challenges facing humankind and enhancing peace to boosting economic development, The Youth Economic Dialogue focuses on five key issues. The Group has an entire membership of 792 from across the Globe, who contribute to issues bothering society, with special focus on promoting Agribusiness, Trade & Investment, Technology and Leadership & Governance on the African Continent.

Source: Youth Economic Dialogue (YED)

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