The Mass Media Profession in Ghanaian National Development: A Development Partner or Scourge?
The paper sets up a platform for debating whether the mass media is a partner or a scourge to development. Critics of the mass media argue that media vigilance is necessary for checking the excesses of persons in authority. The media is seen as some form of vigilante that guards against the pursuit of self-interest, nepotism, excessive power and corrupt practices. Indeed, journalists help to promote the freedoms and rights of human beings, distinct from other animals, and the balance of power between rulers and the ruled. Yet, the media can become an avenue for distractive practices. Irresponsibility, corruption and excesses of the media breed and result in crises and chaos. Evidently, the misuse of the media like that of power can impede national development. In Ghana today, the mass media has become an important ally in national yet, some of its practices are causing concern. It is in view of that situation that this analysis was undertaken. It uses secondary data to discuss the role of journalists and to determine their effects on development. It finds that journalism and the media in Ghana are positioned as guardian of democracy and granting of the civil liberties and freedoms. These manifest in media roles as gatekeepers, scorekeepers and watchdogs over society. The mass media at its best helps in scrutinizing the living conditions of people in order to ensure that individuals, institutions and governments do or not fail to do to deepen democracy. The work concludes that mass media practitioners can promote a vibrant democracy leading to sustainable development. Media practitioners through either responsible journalism or investigative reporting, constantly remind people in privileged positions about the concerns of others in less privileged positions. Yet, when media awareness leads people in authority to lose their jobs and privileges, the media may be seen as a scourge and not a useful ally by the constituency that is losing out. On balance, media personnel are the vanguard of democracy and should be supported by lovers of freedom, human rights and democracy to collect and disseminate information towards probity, transparency and accountability.
KEY WORDS: Mass Media, Democratic Practice, Media Professionalism, Popular Opinion, Civil Liberties.
© 2018 The authors.
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