The President, Mr. Nana D. Akuffo Addo this week lavished praise on the Ghanaian media. He told the select few — members of the Flagstaff House Press Corps — who had been invited to hobnob with him that he was grateful for the fair but critical coverage of his presidency in the past year and hope that the trend will continue.
Mr Addo’s address was one for the ages for its deception and obsfucation; it was, to put it simply, full of baloney. His contention that some of the press coverage has been critical of him sounded hollow and misleading. Mr. Addo wanted us to believe that he is being kept on his toes by an aggressive and vigilant press. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ghanaians are not taking the bait.
Since his historic political comeback last year— yeah, he ran for the presidency three times — Mr. Addo has been the recipient of unrelenting adulation from the Ghanaian press. He has generally been thrown softballs by members of the media for reasons that are steeped in sycophancy. And, that is putting it mildly….he has been treated with kid gloves.
His economic and financial policies that could potentially bankrupt the country receive scant attention from members of the adoring press, who are frequently falling over themselves to curry favor with the president. Any criticism of the President, the little that we have seen, has for most part been subtle, muted.
Take Mr. Addo’s bloated cabinet of 110 members and his appointment of family members to key ministerial posts; with the exception of those news outlets NPP sycophants deride as rags who ripped into the president, there hasn’t been any harsh commentary in the main stream media.
And how can we forget Mr. Addo’s glove treatment of vigilante groups closely associated with his party? No one in the MSM….main stream media has had the nerves to question the president on his reluctance to take a strong stance against the vigilante groups.
For the few brave reporters who have done due diligence, that is examine the President’s utterances, decisions and policies and offered valid criticism, alienation has been their fate; they have essentially been ostracized, confined to the fringes of Ghanaian journalism circles, called names and denied access to the upper levers of power.
There is no opposition press to keep an eagle eye on the president and his ministers. Radio Gold is the lone voice in the wilderness, and it has been defanged, rendered impotent by the recent heavy-handed measures thrown down by the minister of communication, Madam Ursula Owusu.
Times have indeed changed. When former president, Mr. John Mahama was in the hot seat, nary a day passed without him being savaged by the press for the least misstep, policy or otherwise. Let’s cast our minds back to 2015 when he welcomed the two former Gitmo detainees onto our shores.
This singular act of generosity and humanity was met with politically inspired hostility; it particularly did not go down well with a cross section of the Ghanaian media which proceeded to fry Mr. Mahama in the open. They accused him of opening the gates of hell by allowing in two alleged terrorists.
Chief among the critics was Multimedia and its constellation of radio stations. They piled on for days on end. When the dust finally settled, Mr Mahama was proven right. The two former detainees have not conducted any mass casualty attacks on our homeland.
I take Mr. Addo’s claim with a healthy dose of skepticism. He is getting positive press coverage, and if he does not or pretends not to know it, history will be the judge..