It has been my iron clad policy not to react to the slanderous accusations, spurious allegations or libelous publications against me relative to the GJA election.
This is because it does not serve any useful purpose to dignify the perpetrators with any response, less so when the image of the media continues to decline over such negative stories.
I have, however, been compelled to exercise my constitutional right to rejoinder because the stench emanating from those stories is so noxious that it can put the noses of objective minded journalists and decent members of society out of joint and more seriously inflict irreparable damage to our noble profession.
It started with the palpable falsehood that my children have been representing the GJA at international conferences abroad. With all the emphasis I can muster, none of my five children has ever travelled outside Ghana, let alone represent the GJA.
It was followed by the laughable allegation that I’m conniving to sell the properties of the GJA. The office building and two abandoned vehicles we inherited are all intact. Rather, we are about to start work on a multi- million dollar, multi- purpose Press Centre Redevelopment Project with 80 percent commercial component to end our perennial dependence on donors. The team of architects and the consultant recently did a presentation to the Minister of Information who promised to give it the necessary push.
Then came the unthinkable accusation that I am manipulating the GJA Election Committee to skew the processes in my favour. Fact is : since the election time table was announced the Assorow Committee has effectively and uncompromisingly been in charge. The decision on who qualifies to vote or stand is entirely theirs. Again, they alone can determine the size of the voters register. The Dispute Adjudicating Committee led by Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh is also executing it functions freely and independently.The GJA executive does not, will not and cannot dictate to them.
As if this was not enough the Johnnie Aryeetey Campaign Manager went on radio and television to accuse me of registering GIJ students to vote. This is totally false. The fact is that a few weeks ago about four young men came to the Ghana International Press Centre to inquire about GJA membership. The Administrative Office, Fiifi Nettey told them bluntly that they did not qualify to to be members. At best they could belong to the GIJ students chapter who are not qualified to vote. They left without a single form being issued to them. Their enquiry was even unnecessary because the membership forms can be downloaded free of charge from the GJA website. The voters list was later published without any of those students. The supreme question then is : why the tendency to slice and dice my character I’ve tenaciously built over the years?
Article 2 of the GJA Code of Ethics states emphatically that “the journalist tells the truth at all times”. And in this era of fact checked journalism why should journalists fail to very their stories before publishing them? The rising hackles and soaring tensions over the election should be blamed on those who pollute the media space with lies.
Indeed, the extravagant lies and overweening arrogance boggle the mind and even terrify the soul. The perpetration of mendacity and scurrility must stop. It’s needless to state that GJA’s image is bleeding profusely from such unfounded allegations and unparalleled desperation for positions. And we need to do everything possible to stanch the blood flow.
I pledge my fullest support to the Election Committee, Dispute Adjudicating Committee, the Council of Elders of the GJA and all well meaning journalists and public figures to help resolve the crisis which has enveloped the election. They should also do all within their power to save our great professional body in an impartial and conciliatory manner.
The GJA is far more important than the sum total of all the candidates and and their ambitions. In view of this I am as willing as ready to offer any sacrifice in the overall interest of the GJA.