Unethical, Irresponsible Presentations

Dr. Eric Opoku-Mensah

Dr. Eric Opoku-Mensah, University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UTAG) President, who is also the head of Communications, University of Cape Coast, has called for decency in the presentation of news by Akan presenters.

There could not have been a better expression of opprobrium to the despicable presentation of news in a local language. Such presentations are so nauseating that we wonder if the presenters and their news editors ever consider the effect of their indifferent presentations on society.

Indeed, the difference between news, facts and fiction – which belong to the realm of creative writing as the academic pointed out – has been blurred.

The listener under the circumstances is left helpless, unable to determine what is going on. Such observations have been made by many Ghanaians, especially those who understand communication and therefore appreciate the importance of ethics in the profession. Unfortunately, such persons rarely make open observations, let alone recommend ways to ameliorate the anomalous situation.

While we appreciate the importance of these presenters as they present news in alternative languages, those understood by most people, we nonetheless ask that their occupation be hinged on ethics and decency.

The introduction of humour into the presentation of a news item about the defilement of a minor by an adult is not only unacceptable; it is irresponsible and in bad taste. Imagine how the parents or the victim of defilement would feel when they listen to the graphic and indecent presentation of such stories.

The attempt at overusing adjectives and verbs to present such stories robs the presentation of deference, leaving the presenter merely fooling on the airwaves.

When an act of irresponsibility and criminality is committed, it is only decent to report it as it is bereft of the theatricals which we often hear in the presentation of Akan news items.

Some of the presenters are notorious for such unethical conduct, thinking that there is something worth commending about their manner of presentation.

The need for presenters who have not had the opportunity of attending journalism schools to learn the nuances of the profession they have found themselves in cannot be overemphasized. Such opportunities would definitely minimize the frequency of this irresponsible conduct among some presenters.

With access to radio broadcasts no longer limited, children and pupils are able to listen to these presentations without inhibition. To the boys the theatricals can serve to encourage them to want to experiment the stupidity, while their female counterparts can only wonder to their detriment why something despicable would receive such unnecessarily embellished presentation.

Owners of defaulting radio stations should discourage their presenters from going this path as their contribution towards sanitizing society.

We are losing our Ghanaian, if you like, African values so fast that if we do not initiate concerted efforts towards arresting the inappropriate situation, it will not be long before we discover that we have lost everything which set us apart from others.

The time to act is now, and in this direction, we call on the National Media Commission, Independent Broadcasters Association and the church to come together in finding a remedy to the sickening presentations by our Akan radio stations which particularly savour stories bordering on irresponsible amorousness.