Culture of silence: Greatest threat to media in Ghana is the ownership structure – Affail Monney

President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Roland Affail Monney has added his voice to the ongoing debate about whether or not there is a culture of silence in Ghana under the Akufo-Addo administration. His comment comes on the heels of a statement made by businessman, Sir Sam Jonah at a Rotary Club function titled “Down the up escalator – Reflections on Ghana’s future by a senior citizen” where he bemoaned the prevailing “culture of silence” in the country.

Sir Sam Jonah said among other things that “What is baffling is that those who used to have voices on these things seem to have lost their voices. People speak on issues based on who is in power. Is our deafening silence suggesting that we are no longer concerned about issues that we complained about not too long ago, particularly when those issues persist….. The molestation of and in some cases assassination of journalists, murder of MPs, corruption, the harassment of anti-corruption agents.

MAK EVENTS [0594110706]
MAK EVENTS [0594110706]
“We have just finished another election, the 8th in the series since the beginning of our fourth Republican democratic experiment. As usual, the accolades came in from all corners of the world, and we took them with pride. What we failed to tell the world is that some people lost their lives in the course of the election.

“No election is as important as to warrant the loss of even one life. And the silence over it is numbing as it gives the impression that it is okay, and it is to be expected. No, it is not to be expected. One of the saddest moments for me was after the State of the Nation address when an MP was asked why there had not been a serious outpouring of grief about the death of the innocent people in Techiman , his response was that as far as he was concerned, they were undeserving of any sympathy because he saw them as armed robbers.

“For me, that was a new low for the country. We also witnessed arguably the biggest assault on our democracy since the beginning of the Fourth Republic when on the eve of the swearing-in of the President at a time when there were no ministers, and crucially there was no minister of defence, armed soldiers, that is to say, officers from an institution that works by command, invaded our Parliament and up till date, no serious answers have been provided.

“This could have had grave consequences and for the future of our country, the least the country deserves is a public enquiry. Have we become so numb to these things?”

Mr Affail Monney told Dzifa Bampoh on the First Take on 3FM Monday, April 26 that “The greatest challenge to our media system now is not the government in power. Yesteryears when we were under anti-media regimes the government was perceived as the greatest threat to media freedom.

“With the threats of the government in power diminish with time now the greatest threat to media freedom is the ownership structure, people who own media system.

“Media owners even dictate content and this is where the danger is. So, the greatest threat to the media today is who owns what.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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