The media must resume its prime responsibility of education and promoting economic development, and reduce the shouting, fake news, name-calling and lying associated with the political diatribes which now dominate the media space, says Mr. Ken Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Dalex Finance.
“Journalism has failed to lead in civic education of the people as envisaged by ‘Africa Rising’: discourse in the media has become overly-political and incomprehensible,” he said.
Africa Rising is a term coined to describe the rapid economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa since 2000, and belief in the inevitability of further rapid development on the continent. According to the Financial Times, Africa Rising is a “narrative that improved governance means the continent is almost predestined to enjoy a long period of mid-to-high single-digit economic growth, rising incomes and an emerging middle-class”.
Mr. Thompson indicated that Africa grew faster than any other continent in the world during the decade between 2005 and 2015. It grew by 50 percent compared to the world average of 23 percent growth.
He made these remarks in his capacity as Chairman at a fundraising dinner held recently at the Christ the King Parish Hall in Accra to mark the 80th anniversary of the Catholic Standard newspaper. The event was on the theme ‘The Catholic Standard: 80 years of Promoting Integral Human Development in Ghana’.
He noted however that “…Africa Rising has reached an inflexion point; the growth has stalled, and one of the reasons for this is the failure of journalism to educate and provide a compass for the people. It is almost as if there is nothing else to talk about in the media apart from politics and entertainment. The focus is not on what really matters to the people; such as access to quality education, potable water, improved health care, among others”.
He called for a concerted effort to revive the once-vibrant newspaper (the Catholic Standard) to contribute in making journalism more relevant and championing the country’s socio-economic development.
“Many of you may recall that we were desperate for a copy of the newspaper on Sundays because it spoke for the voiceless, reflected the truth and championed socio-economic development as well as civic education of the people,” he remarked.
Ambrose Derry, Minister for the Interior who represented President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the event, also praised the newspaper and Catholic Church for their impact on society.
He said: “the Catholic Standard was candid and very consistent with speaking the truth. The church also made great interventions in different areas, including education and health. Your contributions to progress of the country are remarkable”.