A veteran Ghanaian journalist – Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, who is the immediate past chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC) has lamented the vast difference between journalism in Ghana in the past and what is currently being practiced in the country, insisting that it can be far better.
He said unlike today, journalism practice in the past was driven so much by the thirst for news and the care for humanity – it was what drove practitioners to deliver irrespective of the challenges. According to him, because there were no proper legislation regulating the media profession in those days a lot of things were imposed on the journalist, especially those of them who worked in the public sector. He noted however that the environment has since improved and so it is important that the journalist also improves.
He has therefore advised the journalist of today to take advantage of provisions in the 1992 constitution and other lettered ethics and display professionalism in the interest of public good.
“The difference between the time we practiced journalism and now is like day and night. We had to fight government’s monopoly. In those days there were no laws, but now we have a whole chapter in the 1992 Constitution dedicated to media freedom. We didn’t have that in our era,” he stated.
The veteran journalist made these comments on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 when he appeared as guest on the maiden edition of MTN Bright Conversations. It was themed “Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng @70; Reflections on the media as a lived experience”. The event was planned to celebrate the achievements of the veteran journalist in the media space as he turned 70 years this year. It was also part of activities marking Scancom Ghana PLC (MTN Ghana)’s 25 years anniversary.
Nana Gyan-Apenteng admonished media practitioners to prioritize volunteerism in the industry for the necessary experience that would guide their stay in the profession for long.
He narrated how his commitment to volunteerism during his early days as a journalist opened doors for him and facilitated his experience as he navigated his way through the journalism profession, “It was not like in our days there were no challenges. In the past, we had dedicated journalists despite attacks on media freedom.”
He made a case for a need for the membership of the National Media Commission (NMC) to be relooked at since according to him some institutions that are represented on the Commission have no reason to be there.
He was of the view that the Commission as it is now does not have the capacity and resources to properly regulate contents of Television stations.
He said Ghana needs a national gathering of professional groups to discuss what should constitute a good TV content so as to avoid situations like what recently happened at Kasoa that led to the murder of a 10 year old boy by some teenagers.
“This Kasoa murder of a ten-year-old by two teenagers should put the spotlight on the media regulation. We have to do things by law. There is no broadcasting law in this country. Let us harmonize rules and regulations governing the media space, he stated.
In his closing remarks, the Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group, Prof. Kwame Karikari, who chaired the function, argued among others that it is mandated on the journalist to first serve the public while policing the government for good governance.
According to MTN Ghana, the Bright Conversation series will each month feature a prominent personality who would be invited to share their and experiences with the media and the general public.