View Full Version : EDITORIAL: Come Again, Our Critics

22nd September 2012, 07:30 AM
Last Friday, the Daily Graphic and its website, graphic.com.gh carried a story which indicated that 276 pupils of the Weija Cluster of Schools had dropped out of school as a result of the lack of a footbridge over the Weija Lake to give them access to their schools.

In addition, the report said 1,200 pupils who lived at Ayigbe Town, SCC, Old Barrier, Bortianor and Broadcasting, all communities on one side of Weija, put their lives in danger by scaling the wall of the dam daily to get to school.

When the story made the headlines, hell broke loose in certain quarters, especially in the corridors of the Weija Assembly, the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, the Ministry of Transport and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).

Some of the officials of the organisations read mischief into this singular public service by the newspaper in bringing this ill in our society to the attention of policy makers so that the necessary intervention could be made.

They also questioned the accuracy of the story, indicating that it was not possible for a six-year-old child to scale the steel fence to school.

Those officials, including the Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Dr Louisa Hannah Bisiw; the Weija Municipal Chief Executive, Jerry Acquaye Thompson, and the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Dzifa Ativor, who spoke on certain radio stations, said the newspaper had concocted the story to force the hands of government to open the gate to the public.

Our duty as a media organisation, indeed the leading newspaper in the country, is to provide information on development in our society, with the view to bringing the government and other stakeholders abreast of the issues.

We do not go round looking for cobwebs and our aim is not to engage in scandal mongering but, as part of the media confraternity, to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people of Ghana.

In playing this watchdog role, the Daily Graphic will be minded by the public good and respect for the code of ethics of the journalism profession. We shall not be the footnote of any authority or try to please our readers when the stark reality of our circumstances must be brought home to all.

It is unfortunate that even a section of the media fraternity questioned the credibility of our story and rather joined forces with public officials, who are paid with the taxpayers’ money to see to the welfare of our people, including the schoolchildren of Weija, to denigrate and discredit our story in order to present the Daily Graphic to the rest of the country as anti-government, unpatriotic and purveyors of untruth.

The Daily Graphic makes it clear once again that as a state-owned media, we are conscious of our responsibility to society, for which reason we will always strive to uphold the traditional Ghanaian values of respect for everybody in our society.

However, we shall give praise where praise is due and be critical of actions of the government and other public office holders if there is a breach of our laws or the shirking of responsibility by those who are paid to serve the public.

The Daily Graphic particularly takes exception to the role Uniiq FM played by giving a platform to public officials to undermine the credibility of our story when the basic principles of journalism dictate that if the station had reason to doubt our story, it should have verified from the source, instead of the kind of armchair journalism it exhibited last Friday.

When we first broke the story on June 21, 2012, our expectation was that the government would act quickly to save the children from further exposure to danger. Perhaps because the story was not on the front page, nobody took notice.

We dare say, however, that although government’s intervention in this regard has been slow, it is, as they say, better late than never.

We appreciate the gesture of the government to provide buses to convey the schoolchildren to and from school to save them from further risks.

The Daily Graphic reiterates its commitment to the truth at all times in the discharge of its duties, but when our attention is drawn to lapses in our work, we shall give opportunity to those who may be disturbed by our publication to correct the impression.

As a human institution, we are bound to make mistakes, but let nobody read mischief into our actions.

Source: Graphic.com.gh