Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why an ex-BBC Journalist-Blogger Was Censured for his Racist Comment

There have always been racists among us, and like crime, I don' think it is ever going to go away.

I can understand how the democratisation of the e-space (read:the Internet) has enabled voices of all slants establish themselves through blogs.

But when we get experienced journalists -- like Rod Liddle, former BBC Radio 4  "Today" programme Editor make racist comments, without even realising it is racist, and thinking that his "pedigree" would sanction his comment, then the blogosphere becomes all that bit more murkier.

Still, we have to thank God organisations like the UK's Press Complaints Commission exist, for they were able to censure Liddle, explaining that his blog entry

"...had not been able to demonstrate that the 'overwhelming majority' of crime in all the stated categories had been carried out by members of the African-Caribbean community".

Now this is the UK, and I am not surprised someone's complaint brought the PCC's attention to bear on the matter. But I cannot help but wonder what would happen if something similar had been done in Ghana, where no agency exists to deal with such issues?

Not that in Ghana, anyone would necessarily write a racist comment (!), but given the degree of our political polarisation, where almost every issue is politicised, who would censure any blogger who might write a highly-biased entry that was written through the filter of (excessive) partisan politics?

Would it be the rather-pusillanimous Ghana Journalist Association? or the ever-more timerous National Media Commission(NMC).

I am encouraged that GJA information can be found under the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, and that people can complain to the NMC, but how about a form--like that of the UK's PCC?

The way the NMC site is set up is great, but if it were made easier for citizens to complain--as is done with the better-performing Ghana's Public Utilities Regulatory Commission, then more people would feel, in my view, compelled to complain and make the Commission more meaningful.

Ghana still has a challenge with blogging--not enough of our journalists are blogging, and that cannot augur too well for our fledgling democracy as the guardians of the Fourth Estate seem to linit themselves to the 9-to-5 journalism.

Perhaps, given the state of play of non-blogging journalists, citizen journalists can begin to put sufficient pressure to ensure that the agencies that need to have teeth to make necessary censures can begin to think a bit more about working!

*This entry can also be found on http://ghana-mediawatch.blogspot.com*

labels: ghanablogging, ghana bloggers, ghana purc, ghana gja, ghana journalism, rod liddle, bbc, racist comment, ghana citizen journalism

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