Causes Of The Falling Standards Of Broadcasting In Ghana-Lovin’ C

The multiplicity of broadcasting Houses in the country should have been a good omen to the industry and a developing country like Ghana but the reverse is what is pertaining sadly.

The easiest thing to do under any enterprise is to criticize but on the contrary, what is sustainable is coming out with workable solutions.

First of all, the mode of giving out frequencies to Television and Radio Stations should be scrutinized properly. One of our weaknesses here in Ghana is the act of taking everything for granted. Proper checks should be carried out on the recipients of such frequencies before they are given the green light with the Genocide in Rwanda at the back of our minds. Today Ghana is peaceful but the rate at which certain utterances are being allowed to slide without any major checks, could come back to haunt us one fine day. Giving our frequencies should not be another money-making venture because if they fall into wrong hands the country is doomed.

Let us not be complacent that Ghana will always remain peaceful while we sit unconcerned and allow mediocrity to take the place of innovation. The German’ s will tell you “Wo gehobelt wird fallen Späne” meaning where woods are chopped, splinters must fall. We must pull the bull by the horn.

I have been listening and watching for quite a while after returning from Germany’s worldwide service Deutsche Welle Radio where I was Editor and Anchor of their Current Affairs programme NEWSLINK. Sad thing is that when you are exposed to that level of professionalism and you look at what some media houses are churning out in the country you are thrown into a state of shock. I am a product if the young generation that was groomed to take over from iconic figures like the late Charlie Sam, late James Amartey, Mike Eghan, Tommy Annan Forson, Kwasi Kyei Darkwah, Harriet Techie Menson, late Barima Ohemeng Kwatia, the late Richard Kotei etc of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in Accra.

The blueprint and intensive drill on pronunciation, research and conduct which was handed down to our generation which had Nana Yaw Tenkorang, Late Kwame Owusu Ansah, Late Komla Dumor, Kwami Sefa Kayi etc has been relegated into the background under the guise of modernity. Ethics remain ethics and must be adhered to. In German parlance they will say ” Wer nicht wagt, der nicht gewinnt” which loosely translates to “he who dares nothing wins nothing”.

Under no condition was an untrained on-air staff allowed onto the airwaves irrespective of the language of communication on GBC then. I found out that it was the same on Deutsche Welle and other international media houses worldwide.

In Ghana today, just about 20 percent of media houses ensure that they employ adequately trained journalists on their airwaves and pay them well with a well-structured contract which ensures job security. Media Owners are always bent on recouping their investments but sadly continue making the same mistakes yearly by employing untrained and clueless on-air staff who feed listeners with chaff.

What I want to emphasize is that buying a radio or television frequency does not make you a journalist or a broadcaster. Sadly, these are the same people making decisions on who hosts programmes on Radio and Television. I will plead with major corporate bodies and advertisers to carefully check the media houses they select for advertisements to enhance professionalism.

Every Profession under the sun requires intensive training and the same applies to journalism and broadcasting. The sad scenario in Ghana today is that some of the half-baked Journalists have established broadcasting schools where they are teaching part-time to produce more unqualified on-air staff for the media space.

Social Media which is supposed to be a great platform and avenue for quick information, is also currently being misused. Some Tik Tok, You Tube, Facebook, Telegram, IG etc “superstars” are being tapped onto mainstream media to host shows without adequate training to muddy the waters.

In this 21st Century it is sad to note that certain Radio and Television Stations don’t even have qualified Programme Managers, General Managers, Editors etc. To    add insult to injury, most of them are woefully underpaid so some end up picking their acquaintances with no requisite skills to broadcast to a respected audience. Broadcasting and Journalism in Ghana is taking a nose dive because there are far too many square pegs in round holes but last, we forget, there is a reason why the Media is the fourth estate of the realm not only in Ghana but worldwide.

If the government of Ghana means well for the   media fraternity, they must ensure that there is sanity on the airwaves by empowering the National Media Commission should and due process is followed before the allocation of frequencies via the NCA before any loose cannon plunges this young democracy into chaos.

There is a reason why some of us were picked to major International Broadcasting Houses beyond the four walls of Ghana. We can all do better. Let’s lift this noble craft in Ghana once again by doing the right thing instead of cutting corners. Standards have not been lowered at Deutsche Welle Radio, BBC, CNN, VOA etc

William des BORDES

(Lovin’ C)

Media Practitioner

 

 

 

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