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President Mahama wants fair media coverage, not praise – Felix Kwakye Ofosu 

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President John Mahama is not craving praises from media organisations but merely wants fairness and balance in converage, Deputy Communications Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu has said.

“The president does not expect that from morning to evening, 24/7, media organisations in Ghana will be singing his praises, but where evidence exists of performance, it is the duty of the media to convey same. Where the president has engaged in an activity that is beneficial to the country, media organisations must transmit them because you see, the business of accountability does not only rest with reporting sensational headlines …” Mr Kwakye Ofosu told Emefa Apawu on Class91.3FM’s 505 news analysis programme on Wednesday, 19 October with respect to Mr Mahama’s complaint that “a certain group has taken control of the media in Ghana” and blocked his “transformation message”, thus making it “difficult for people to discern the truth. So as much as you are putting out the information, it is either being blocked or distorted.”

According to Mr Kwakye Ofosu, “There is a tendency for some media organisations driven by partisan considerations to always highlight insignificant negativity with the view to creating the impression of nonperformance by the government even when clear evidence exists of significant achievement and performance on the part of government. And often when you raise this subject, people adopt the very simple approach that: ‘Oh, it is government’s communication.’

“Are you aware that there are some media organisations in Ghana that will never table a story once it is negative and critical of the New Patriotic Party, for instance, and yet will highlight every insignificant thing about government with the view to scoring political points?

“So I believe that rather than apportioning blame on the government, media organisations ought to take a critical look at their own conduct and practice and ensure that even if they are motivated by partisan considerations, they at least try to be balanced.”

Meanwhile Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baaku has said Mr Mahama’s comment is a spite on himself as a “very fine communicator”.

Mr Mahama made the comment in an interview with Ovation International.

Speaking on the matter, Mr Baako Jnr., said on Wednesday, 19 October, that the president “overgeneralised”, adding: “I’m confused and intrigued about the president’s position. …He should come with further and better particulars.

“…It’s unfair to all the communication networks supporting the president’s cause as well as himself, being a communicator of some repute. And I agree the president is a very fine communicator,” Mr Baako said, noting that if that is how the president really sees the situation, then “… wow that’s a wakeup call for the president.

“If you look at the kind of resources available to the government in the media, I find it very difficult to accept the president’s position,” he told Kwadwo Asare-Baffour Acheampong (KABA) on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen political talk programme.

Mr Baako said Mr Mahama’s comment was “very uncomplimentary – at the end of the day – against those in the media who have been championing government’s agenda because they are a lot, many. My brother, they are many, including the government’s own communications machinery, the party’s communication machinery, and I can’t believe it; with all these resources available to them, some media houses are able to block and distort? Because even if you distort, you are liable to challenge from these same government communicators, party communicators, and private media communicators …So, I think the president’s position is unsustainable, I mean if you look at the facts and the reality…”

Explaining why he was amazed at the president’s comment, Mr Baako said in addition to the government having “a very well printed Green Book full of his development agenda spread all over the country”, the president also went on a “very extensive” Accounting to the People tour and is currently conducting a “very flamboyant campaign” dotted with “occasional presidential encounters with the media”, while he additionally has the government communication machinery, party communication network, and pro-government private media supporting him.

“And “yet your massive transformational agenda is blocked and distorted? I find it difficult to accept that. He should have been specific and mentioned media houses who perhaps may have been distorting and blocking his message.”

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