News is necessary to keep in touch with trends in the country and across the globe. It is simply indispensable, because our thirst for information and knowledge is insatiable.
Because we cannot ignore the milieu in which we live, we depend on news updates to keep us in touch with the world in which we live. It gives us the insight to the dynamics that form the environment around us. That is just why we tune our devices in to stations to be informed. And when we are served what we did not request, it’s justifiable to go haywire. In spite of some hitches here and there, Ghana’s media is not bad at all – but for a lot of the Akan newsreaders. Of the irregularities within journalism as a profession, this is one of the anomalies that need criticism – thus this piece will make that attempt. We are slowly losing touch of our cultural values as a result of western culture adulteration. It’s heart-breaking to hear a fully bred Ghanaian fellow struggle to make a full sentence in his own mother tongue. So having news read in the vernacular languages is a necessity. It’s a good thing. Listening to news in one’s own local dialect is an entitlement, and is as well a delight of every cultural being. The average African would patronise it. So ideally it isn’t such a bad idea. It’s a good thing. But the only appalling thing is the manner in which these newscasters go about their presentations. Awkward is an understatement! News read in Akan predominantly, and some local languages is garnished with unnecessary reiteration, circumlocution and excessive repetitions. Their redundant preambles render the news items too chaffy and porous, making the listener lose track of what is being told. It could take a newsreader as much as an hour to present less than five bulletins. You will find them play around with sensitive, delicate issues that bother on security, governance, politics, employment and matters of national development. They take irrational delight in reporting stories of rape, theft, witchcraft and trivial items.
Not to make a comparison, but you hardly find English newscasters supplement what they present with their opinions, nor do they add flesh to their stories with exaggerations. Embellished personal views make the stories too biased for consumption, which clearly is unethical.
It appears news broadcast in Akan is more of oration than reportage. It looks more of a battle of the speakers as they display their proficiency in vocabularies, analogies, metaphors and irrelevant maxims. Today, it is not uncommon to find news turned into a proverbs competition and a hub of comedy, unrelated to the news. Vernacular news needs shaping and trimming. Editors and producers need to bring their readers to order. Owners and human resource managers of FM stations need to employ trained staff of high pedigree to do the job. They need to guarantee listeners of professionalism and good media etiquettes. There’s no gainsaying that those days when we had excellent productions from the likes of Amankwa Ampofo are completely gone. Those flooding the local news stations today lack the excellence and dexterity which the old folks had. We need to revisit the old days of Akwasi Donkor, Amamo Kakra and Kofi Amisah of Radio Ghana. But what do we get today? Akan news bulletins are no different from tales. See people, the ‘concert’ is much. The ‘unseriosusness’ is far more than we can condone, the ‘lose talk’ is beyond the rules of your game. This kind of sycophancy is like a free kick that lacks finesse. It flies far over the bar! We, the audience have become better informed and more sophisticated in our needs and tastes. Before we tune in, we had already read elsewhere – by the advent of the internet. Times have changed. So it’s important for you to step up your game and rise above the mediocrity. Journalism, like any other profession has high ethical standards and is practised with intelligence, accuracy, objectivity, fairness all aimed at developing people and the nation. The media associations in Ghana should put such practitioners to order. They should apply the norms whiles following the best practice around the world. This is a clarion call on the National media Commission, The Ghana News Agency, The Ghana Journalists Association and all the various stakeholders to fix all such irregularities.