We are at a crossroads; our press freedom is on the chopping block.

Recent events in the country have me wondering if our democratic experiment is coming off the rail, if indeed it is losing steam and veering off course?

My fears are rooted in the fact that Ghanaian journalists who dare to criticize government policy, official corruption and ineptitude, are instantly branded  troublemakers, and every effort is made to gag or silence them.

Towards this ignoble end, radio stations have been closed on flimsy grounds, journalists have been hounded and intimidated out of the country, and in some extreme cases, their lives brutally cut short.

Indeed, it is not out of place to state emphatically that those in authority today unjustifiably see opposing political views as a direct threat to their power, prestige and influence.

It therefore goes without saying that tolerance is now a thing of the past,  confined to the scrap heap of history; dissent has essentially been criminalized.

The case of the late Ahmed Suale is a clear example of how quick those who feel their grasp on power is threatened can react and exact revenge without being held accountable.

And the recent resignation of Manasseh Azure Awuni from the Multi-Media Organization is a sober reminder of the dangers that come with carrying water for a political party that isn’t receptive to criticism and intolerance is part of its DNA.

When you sing their praises, you are immediately put on a pedestal and glorified. But once you begin probing and asking the hard questions about their policy direction you are suddenly enemy number one, declared a persona non grata and your job is endangered. Pressure is then subtly mounted on your employer to send you packing.

And how can we forget the flaming case of Kevin Taylor, the daredevil I call him, who has had the unbelievable courage to point fingers at those he perceives to be irredeemably corrupt in the current administration.

Mr. Taylor has also frequently slammed the President for turning a blind eye to the massive cesspool of corruption around him.

Mr. Taylor’s vehement, virulent and sometimes unhinged condemnation of the administration has earned him a battalion of enemies who are sparing no effort to truncate, to shorten his career.

According to Mr. Taylor, his home was ransacked last week by a pair of goons he alleged were sent by his detractors and he barely managed to escape with his life.

Mr. Taylor’s foes have even written to the New York Times the most liberal news organization in the world to urge the paper to do something about Mr. Taylor who is married to a New York Times reporter.

Now my question is this: what is wrong with the President’s communication people? My goodness, these folks are so out of touch with reality that they woefully failed to recognize that the New York Times doesn’t countenance governments that treat journalists shabbily and suppress press freedom.

I will strongly urge the communication team at Flagstaff House to read the editorial pages of the New York Times to see the paper’s liberal orientation.

Regrettably, the National Media Commission, the body charged with protecting press freedom is doing the exact opposite. It is a collection of toadies and sycophants who have jettisoned their principles to please their political paymasters.

Folks, we are at a crossroads. One fundamental pillars of our democracy --- press freedom----is on the chopping block; it is being threatened by the powers that be who hate the idea of our journalists doing their jobs.

The administration can’t rationalize its crass behavior towards reporters. Ghanaians are thus duty-bound and morally obligated to hold these people accountable at the ballot box or they can kiss their democratic gains goodbye.

 

 

 

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