NDC, NPP sowing seeds of ethnic intolerance in Ghana – Akoto Ampaw


Akoto AmpawNDC, NPP sowing seeds of ethnic intolerance in Ghana – Akoto Ampaw

29 July 2012

Mr Akoto Ampaw, a Member of the National Media Commission (NMC) at the weekend chastised the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for manipulating ethnic prejudices for political gain.



He described the NDC’s reference to the Volta Region as its electoral 'World Bank' and the NPP’s indication that the Ashanti Region is its strong base as elements of “dangerous ethnic intolerance and prejudice waiting to explode one of these days when it is triggered by some event.”

Mr Akoto Ampaw stated these at a workshop organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs under the Ghana Political Parties Programme for senior media practitioners and political party leaders on the theme: “The role of the media in an Election year,” at Akosombo.

He cautioned that Ghana as a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-linguistic society was replete with long-standing, in-borne cultural prejudices against various ethnic groups which could easily be exploited to forment violence.

He explained that most Ghanaians harboured in the deep recesses of their mental and cultural reflexes such ethnic prejudices, even though they would deny them at the top of their voices when confronted with the reality.

He explained that the Ashantis had certain cultural prejudices about the Ewes just as the Ewes too had their in-borne cultural perceptions about the Ashantis, In the same vein Southerners had a certain prejudiced view about Northerners and vice versa, he added.

“We have been brought up with these prejudices in our villages and towns as we grew and thus distrust and disregard the common humanity of others simply because they come from a different community, ethnicity, language and a different culture,” he noted.

He indicated that during the First Republic, efforts were made to develop among Ghanaians a deep sense of national identity, but this great heritage had over the years been gradually chipped away by politicians for their own selfish ends.

“Hidden and sometimes not so hidden stereotyping and prejudices against other ethnic groups have been and are regularly exploited by politicians to advance their selfish bid to capture power. And they have manipulated the media for such destructive ends.

“What we ought to note is that increasingly, propagation of hate speech can lead to very dire consequences for those journalists that engage in or encourage it or allow their media to be used to project it,” he stated.

Mr Akoto Ampaw reminded media practitioners and politicians that there was a personal price to be paid for such expressions and conduct, quite apart from the incalculable damage it can do to society as a whole.

Speaking on: “Overview of media reportage and activities in the run up to Election 2012,” Mr Akoto Ampaw said party political polarization of the mass media and society had been on the upsurge in the past 14 years.

“While this may seem to be essentially a media problem, in my view, it is a far more complex combination of issues – the crisis of culture and values in Ghanaians society; the zero-sum game of Ghanaian multi-party politics and the largely insatiable ambition of leading sections of the major parties to win power at all costs with the object of plundering public resources.

He also attributed the prevailing trend to a lack of professionalism among significant sections of the mass media; political control or subordination of the mass media to parochial and sectarian party interests that may have nothing to do with the interest of the nation and the development of our society; and the absence of an effective regulatory framework.

Mr Akoto Ampaw noted the print and electronic media were infested with an explosive combustion of insults, intemperate language, sensationalism, naked lies and the assassination of characters of political opponents and even hate speech and incitement to violence.

In this situation, the society as a whole and the state seemed helpless as it appeared to be driven inexorably towards possible civil strife and violence on a large social scale.

Mr Akoto Ampaw noted that a first step in combating and hopefully turning around this threat to the country's democratic gains, and its very existence, was to recognise that the problem existed and to make a determination to combat it.

The workshop was attended by senior media practitioners, politicians, security personnel and academia.

Source: GNA



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