"Media black out: Mahama's 'defeatist lamentations' unnecessary; NDC did same in 2008 to win power"

Editor of the Al Haj Newspaper, Alhaji Bature Iddrissu has called on President John Mahama to stop complaining about the presence of a certain ‘media cabal’ that is blocking Ghanaians from seeing the achievements of his administration.

According to him, he and several journalists sympathetic to the cause of the NDC in the run up to the 2008 through various programmes in the media did all in their power to ensure that the then Kufour administration never had the opportunity to trumpet its achievements.

“What the opposition is doing is legitimate, it is right because we did similar thing to help the NDC come to power in 2008 and nobody would doubt this, I hosted Alhaji and Alhaji programme [on Radio Gold] and everybody knows it. These are the kind of things we did to prevent President Kufour, Akufo-Addo and NPP from continuing in power. So lamenting about it would not solve the problem,” he said.

President John Dramani Mahama during an interview with the Ovation Magazine expressed worry over what he calls the control of Ghana’s media by a cabal who are blocking his message of transformation.

According to him, a certain group of people have taken control of the Ghanaian media and are blocking his government’s message, a situation which in his view makes it difficult for people to know the truth.

“It is populism, a certain group has taken control of the media in Ghana and it makes 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,” he said.

This comment has not gone down well with media practitioners in the country who have asked the President to instead blame his ministers who they tag as persons who hardly release needed information to the media.

Alhaji Bature speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen Programme Wednesday described the President's complain as a 'defeatist lamentation' which ought not to have come from a government with all the arsenals for communication at its disposal.

"For me don’t blame the opposition media, in fact, if they have the capacity, I will urge them to block it the more because the government seems to be complacent...but this lamentation is defeatist and it is not appropriate…this is a defeatist posturing because if we don’t take care, the unfortunate thing will happen...," he added.

According to him, the NDC and the government are complacent in their communication because 'they think they have already won but election is like football match until the 90 minute whistle…the strategy you will adopt at the dying minute of the match tells.'

He therefore called on the government and its communicators to stop blaming the opposition media for working against the Mahama administration as according to him, they are doing well in championing the cause of the opposition.

To Alhaji Bature, President Mahama would do himself lots of good if he rather concentrates on criticising the pro-NDC press and communicators other than bashing the anti-government press houses.

The appointees, he added have failed to 'pay the media houses' and hence the result is what the President is seeing.

"Every ministry has a responsibility which is for engaging the media…we should pay media houses to spread the good works of government….pay for it because you have budget for it, if you don’t pay them, why then do you complain…the NDC media, what are they doing, is it about hero worshipping or about telling the story?", he queried.

Alhaji Bature who is known to be a sharp critic of the NPP encouraged the government communicators to rather learn to device strategies to also fight the opposition and its media.

“What prevents the appointees from buying airtime on radio stations to talk about the achievements of the government…why do we complain, why can’t they counter it…if they are finding it difficult to it, they can invite some of us…,” he said.

A deputy communications minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu however said he agreed with the President as there exist some media houses which have it their agenda to twist facts about the President and government.

“I have heard some people saying it is the fault of government communicators but that is not so…government do not fear criticisms that is why we meet with some media houses and that is why he grants interviews,” he said.


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