JIM’S JOTTINGS: On Missing Girls & Missing Quality in Ghanaian Media


In silence and in desolation they sit, with teary faces buried in their palms. The pain is real, the world oblivious – everyone goes about their daily business with hardly any blotch on their consciences at all.

They wish we understood them, that at least we listened, but no! — we have relegated them to the back pages of national discourse. They wish we were more sensitive, but we’ve sadly exhausted our yearly serving of empathy, with so little to spare.

It is indeed unimaginable the grand horror show endured during these past few months by families and friends of the three girls – Ruby Quaison, Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie and Priscilla Bentum – who were kidnapped in Takoradi from as far back as August 2018. Parents are depressed and grief-stricken while siblings have cut a sullen image for a protracted period of time now, craving the warm embrace of their missing daughters and sisters again. At school, the girls’ desks are still unoccupied and monitored in misery daily by classmates who aren’t too sure when if they will see the beloved occupants again.

Who is going to ensure these hurting people are heard and relieved?

Why aren’t responses from the law enforcement agencies consistent?

Who is holding anybody to account?

Are those girls not Ghanaian enough?

Would we have had the same lack of urgency in finding the missing girls and bringing the perpetrators to book were one of the victims related to a Ghanaian ‘big man’?

See, Ghana is a country I struggle to emotionally disentangle myself from — and for good reasons. First, it is my country of birth and, second, I still cling to the belief that, if only we apply ourselves hard enough, the country will work again. And that’s why I find it disturbing that it has become commonplace to see sensitive issues of national importance give way to sensationalism and ‘pseudo-news’.

Over the years, the media landscape has changed a lot, with advancing technology rapidly improving the digitization and delivery of news. Content that would previously have only reached the public across considerable distances and days now arrives in a matter of minutes and clicks, but the bolts and nuts of media operations are not what the writer of this article chooses to burden himself and his dear readers with. Rather, I hope to limit this to the quality of the reporting and how that reconciles with the national agenda — if there is one.

There appears to be a dearth of well-measured reporting in Ghana. Quality journalism – finding out real information worth relaying, and doing so without exaggeration or falsification – seems a commodity in short supply. I would not want to go into the reasons for this sad turn of events, instead wrapping this up as a heartfelt plea for due diligence and a departure from the vicious trend of clickbaits and fake news, especially when reporting on sensitive issues as that mentioned at the outset of this write-up.

Loved ones of the aforementioned girls are grieving, holding on to mere strands of any real hope left of a reunion, and the last thing they need from us is the peddling of false news regarding their whereabouts in a bid to generate clicks and drive traffic to our portals and websites. It’s in poor taste, folks; let’s change the ingredients. Let’s add some healthy spice.

Jimmy Aidoo – Daily Mail GH

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