Today marks World Press Freedom Day under the theme: Information as a Public Good. As a journalist, since 2007, my freedom to inform the public has never been met with brute force, just some internal and external forces that journalists face. I am one of the lucky few who practice without any major hindrances.
I have been queried over my work a number of times but I sailed through because I could prove that the information was accurate and for the public good despite calls for my head. Only a good media organisation can give you that assurance of freedom and mean it when you are right. What if you are wrong? Then it could be that you didn’t give the information enough thought to put it out there. Whose fault is that?
The work of a journalist is not dependent on your skill and experience alone, but your mindset too. As the techies would say, garbage in garbage out. What you feed your brain is what you produce. Make it a practice to learn extensively and go outside the box to be able to understand human behaviour for interpretation of actions and thoughts.
With your skill, experience and rich mindset, you would know what information is for the public good and you can justify it. You would do what is right for the people and not what is right for you. The people would be the celebrities and not yourself.
We will get there when we finally agree that being a journalist is not an honour or privilege, but a duty which comes with responsibilities.
Those in power are treating Ghana like how so many citizens are treating their villages and hometowns. The problem is at every level. Until we Sankofa, change will elude us.
The “Sankofa” is a metaphorical symbol used by the Akan people of Ghana, generally depicted as a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg from its back. It expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress.
Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa, said Nkrumah on Ghana’s Independence Day.
He also said: “As I said in the assembly just minutes ago, I made a point that we are going to create our own African personality and identity. It’s the only way that we can show the world that we are ready for our own battles.”
What is the African identity and personality today if not the glorification of division and self-hate against each other. We are so divided that the dream of African unity is moving farther from us. The attempt to erase the border lines failed, the African passport became useless, even regional groups are powerless and we spend time to meet as a “union” to drink tea over a dream of a united continent our leaders don’t even believe in.
Nkrumah didn’t say it will come easy. “I made it quite clear that from now on – today – we must change our attitudes, our minds, we must realise that from now on, we are no more a colonial but a free and independent people. But also, as I pointed out, that also entails hard work.”
The African youth can make a change and help regain the lost African identity. The West cannot tell our story but ourselves. This is the time for a new Africa, the Africa Nkrumah dreamed of and it starts with you and me.
Happy birthday to the Man of the Millennium Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The man who gave Ghanaians and Africans hope of a better country, continent and race. He put hope into action and realized some of the dreams yet envisioned by his peers. His dream lives on and his actions continue to speak louder even in our political dispensation. His “ghost” continues to fight his opponents who can’t move on after years of defeat and opportunity to change the narrative. Indeed, Nkrumah never dies!