I will first of all want to congratulate the winners of the just ended Radio and Television awards held in Accra at the conference centre.
Renowned French Philosopher, Scientist and Mathematician Rene Descartes once said and i quote ” I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained, but also to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery”.
In another breath former US Vice President Dick Cheney once said- “There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve”
With those wise sayings in hindsight, one must take a closer look at the essence of rewarding excellence in the very challenging broadcasting industry in Ghana. What do we seek to reward or award – excellence on the job, professionalism, popularity or business acumen?
Looking at the way events have been unfolding from a humble Ghanaian/ international journalistic perspective and also as one who has been in the country for some time now, I believe we can do better than what we have been doing so far.
Obviously a nation which fails to reward its heroes is not worth dying for. To strike the right note, we must clearly spell out the criteria for prospective winners and for the public as a whole. We must not forget that the world has now been reduced to a global village and whatever we say or write about, inadvertently mirrors the way the world perceives Ghana.
I will be more than elated to see our dear country producing more international journalists like the late Richard Kotei of the VOA, the late Komla Dumor and Ben Dotsei Malor of the BBC, this writer who was once the Anchor and editor of the Deutsche Welle Current Affairs programme NEWSLINK and many others who have excelled internationally.
Back home, I still believe the finesse and professionalism with which former GBC presenters Tommy Annan Forson, Kwesi Kyei Darkwah, Mike Eghan, the late Charlie Sam, Amamu Kakra, Kwesi Donkoh, etc are yet to be experienced even though the internet has made research and learning easier.
In fact state broadcaster GBC was where presenters like Kwami Sefa Kayi of Peace FM, Komla Dumor formerly the BBC cut their teeth. You just could not play down ethics and professionalism in GBC back then when I hosted MUSIC FOR U with Nana Yaw Tenkorang, the late Kwame Owusu Ansah and others.
Gone are the days when stations in Ghana used to broadcast to limited catchment areas. Presently, owing to the liberalization of the airwaves and the internet, it’s easy to monitor the internet, all radio and television stations worldwide.
That said, it makes it difficult to understand why the organizers of the Radio and Television Awards in Ghana only focus on the presenters in the capital with little or no attention on those within the smaller cities. It is true that most of the on-air personnel in Accra are doing well but there are equally others on some local stations who need to be encouraged with such awards.
Humbly using myself as an example, I got to the international stage via Deustche Welle in the year 2003 from less fancied Kumasi, while the almighty Komla Dumor got to the BBC in 2006. I remember vividly reporting events before,during and after the 2006 World Cup in Germany for Komla Dumor on Joy FMs Super Morning Show. As a matter of fact my first international report was on BBC before the finals of the African Champions league game between Kumasi Asante Kotoko and WAC of Morocco.
This is to drum home that goodies can come from the countryside as well. I will fault the G.J.A and the National Media Commission for not doing much for some of the journalists on these stations by way of recognition. One will be amazed to experience the dexterity and effort which some on-air presenters in Cape Coast, Takoradi, Kumasi, Sunyani etc put in their shows on daily basis. With Accra being the seat of government, one must not overlook the presenters in Lawra, Tamale, Kintampo, Winneba, Bolgatanga etc and others who are able to get groundbreaking interviews with those at the helm of affairs in Accra on daily basis.
Presenters like Abeiku Aggrey on Okay FM, Lexis Bill on Joy FM, Kafui Deh on Starr FM, Kwame Adinkra of Atinka FM, Capt Smart of Adom FM, Chris Attoh formerly of Kapital Radio, Nana Otu Gyandoh of Pluzz FM, Quophi Okyeame were all in Kumasi at some point in their career. This in no uncertain terms calls for more attention on the so-called small stations and unsung heroes in the less privileged towns.We have a whole year to organize such events, therefore let’s do some more to unearth talents from these deprived areas.
I hold the belief that broadcasting irrespective of the language of communication, should strictly adhere to high journalistic standards. The use of vulgar language on radio and television platforms should not be rewarded. Otherwise it becomes the yardstick to measure success.
A news bulletin which could at most take 10 minutes, now runs for 30 minutes or an hour because of unnecessary and unprofessional embellishments. Some of the local language stations are guilty of this and we will not be happy to see such stations and presenters rewarded in future for posterity sake. Let’s not forget that our kids are also watching and listening.
It is a shame that an analyst on a radio station in Kumasi on the D-day of the RTP Awards was able to mention some of the winners, even before the event and true to his prediction, what he said came true. An indication that cronyism and business have become the benchmarks for the Awards.
Let’s not insult the intelligence of the public by resorting to doing business with such award schemes to the detriment of rewarding quality and hard work.I do not think that one can out of the blue, just step out of his way to organize awards for legal practitioners of the BAR, or doctors belonging to the GMA or nurses belonging to the GRNA etc. Let’s start attaching seriousness to broadcasting and for that matter journalism in the country.
There are also some media house owners who influence these awards to put the shine on their stations and also to win adverts onto their various stations- the reason why some products dont fly despite numerous funds committed to publicity. Such practices must cease to allow excellent talents and radio/television to be honoured.
Again media owners should be properly screened before they are issued with television and radio licenses. The 2016 election is just around the corner and this will be put to test sooner or later because of some of the mediocrity being rewarded in the annals of journalism in the country. I hope we have not forgotten about Rwanda, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone etc.
Corporate Ghana must also help the nation by scrutinizing the proposals and personalities of such events, before they dole out cash for sponsorship, because the future of the broadcasting industry in Ghana could easily be jeopardized.
In conclusion, I would want to add that social media has become the order of the day and experienced bloggers like Francis Doku of Graphic Communications, NYDJ of YFM ksi, Frontpage Gh Accra and other platforms which support the electronic media should be rewarded at such events in future. The good book states in (2 Timothy 2:5) and I quote ” and also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules”.
We must make sure we award the personalities who excel so as to uplift the image of broadcasting in the country. The Germans will say ” Vieleicht abwarten was die zukunft bringt”.
This loosely translated means let’s keep our fingers crossed and see what the future brings. Long live the fourth estate of the realm journalism/broadcasting industry in Ghana.
William des Bordes( Lovin’ Cee)
Deutsche Welle/ Fox FM