MYND Desk Opinion: The Battle for Responsible Journalism, the role of Student Leadership

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For decades, the attack on the media in developing countries mounted by governments and administrative powers with decision-making mandates, has failed to cease though the media, as an entity can in recent times, boast of tremendous gains towards achieving its aim as a source of information to the masses.

The attacks which mostly start verbally on the publisher, further demands for apologies to be rendered and finally the threat of physical attack on the unfortunate journalist. This long battle may not necessary be due to the fact that the media is bias but just for the opulence of people in power who are determined to be above reproach.

But here in Ghana, the media can take minimal refuge from its parliament when on Friday, July 27, 2001, the lawmakers unanimously repealed the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws, which had been used to incarcerate a number of journalists in the past mostly for comments the executive government of the day deemed inappropriate to its members.

This achievement, hailed by many is deemed to be currently in jeopardy as a trip down memory lane shows that, there might be a newly clothed criminal libel law, secretly instituted against media practitioners who have ‘exposed’ some members in government or leadership.

Strangely, the media as the fourth powerful arm of government, has always been on the receiving end from the three established arms of government; thus Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

However, this unfortunate incident witnessed at the national stage is swiftly descending into the very foundational training establishments of our future leaders as the media houses, which are mostly owned by these universities or schools have been ridiculed by the students in leadership.

To this end, I’m particularly astonished that, Mr. Debrah Kofi Skinly, the General Secretary of the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED) or simply put, the SRC have resorted to this path to find a remedy to ‘one of our identified weaknesses and to put it right, our biggest weakness.’

According to the SRC, MYND FM is being called upon “to engage in responsible journalism and be guided in disseminating information to the entire student body.”

Of what service shall MYNDF FM and its staff along with the teeming and energetic volunteers be, if we as the media house of the university cannot engage in responsible journalism?

Not engaging in any banter with you, I would like to see what you can do within your tenure as SRC General Secretary and the SRC as a whole, to help raise the standards of students who have volunteered freely without pay to serve our university and its community and project its name. I’m never surprised and I will never be surprised because you are not the first to attack MYND FM or its staff.

Most recently was the former PRO in the previous administration who decided to insult a colleague of mine because he was serving the school by disseminating information to the entire student body.

The very show, Campus Filla, on which you took offence has been one of the best programmes because “we name, we shame and we praise”

There is this saying that “of what judicious importance will it be; if you identify a problem but fails to take steps to resolve it.”

It is prudent and very much prudent, to make wrong decisions than making stupid decisions. In this case, the stupid decision is to identify a problem but blatantly deciding to do nothing about it regardless of the abundant resources entrusted into your care.

Lest we should not forget the biblical parable about the three servants who were offered ten, five and one talents. The story has it that, the individual given one talent went ahead, dug a hole and buried his. Let’s take note of his action that, not only did he identify the problem of how unfair the master was or how difficult it will be to invest his portion of the talent but the decision to not do anything about his situation. The final determination as we all know is that, the Master had him punished for ‘stupidity’.

Thankfully, you’ve been able to identify a problem which is, “we engage not in a responsible journalism”. In all humility, I think the onus lies with you to help address this grave concern so that we do not at the long run, wash our dirty linen in public.

Take it or live it, MYND FM is an asset of the Students of AAMUSTED which has been entrusted into your hands as executives mandated to see to its efficient use and development in the quest to achieving its numerous tasks, which includes disseminating information timeously.

Everyone one at MYND FM is motivated for one reason or the other that, not just anyone but the Chief Scribe of the student body has spoken to a long ailment. In case you do not know, we want to be better in your eyes to serve the purpose for which we volunteer to work at the campus radio station.

A few suggestions in case you lack the foresights to addressing our problem of responsible journalism, is to help bring astute journalists, media practitioners or instructors in the field of modern day journalism to conduct refresher or in-service training for the over 100 volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to keep the station running regardless of the numerous challenges face daily by the radio station which are very much known to the SRC which you now heads.

By this, as stated above, your goal for the workers and student volunteers to engage in responsible journalism, which has long been the hallmark of the most vibrant campus radio station, will ultimately be achieved and sustained for generations to come.

I will conclude here with excerpt of the lyrics of Speak Life; composed by Darmian Jr. Gong Marley, encouraging you and I to speak to truth, act as adults and be ready not to settle for less.

Speak life

Live a humble and meek life

Ordinary day of the week life

Try to search and seek life

Way up

Keep your head up and stay up

Even when you sore and pain love

Never giving up till its game up

Keep your aim up

And focus

Don’t concentrate on what’s bogus

Never sell out for a bonus

Handle your biz (business) like grown ups

Own up

Long Live MYND FM

Long live SRC

Long Live AAMUSTED

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