The Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and head of the United Nations Office to the African Union, Hanna Tetteh, has called on Ghanaians to cherish the free press.
The former Foreign Minister under the Mahama administration said in a tweet that news and comments from the many TV, radio and online platforms and individuals reflect how Ghanaians just love to debate everything.
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It is unclear the context in which she made this tweet; however, it comes at a period where there is an ongoing debate on whether or not there is a culture of silence in Ghana.
Reading the news from Ghana Flag of Ghana over the last week via Twitter.
“The news & comments from the many TV, radio & online platforms & individuals reflects how we just love to debate everything! Smiling face with open mouth and smiling eyes”.
“We must cherish our Free Press it gives us all the news & leaves us to draw our conclusions,” the Former lawmaker Awutu Senya West Constituency”.
Ghanaians are divided on whether or not there is a culture of silence in the country.
Whereas some believe it exists in different forms, others also think otherwise.
For instance, a Lecturer at the Political Science Department at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, refuted claims that there is a culture of silence in the country.
He said, where he sits as a political scientist and a citizen within the military regime of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) in Ghana, he cannot agree that there is such a culture in the country.
Dr Gyampo stated that the culture of silence as he knew it under the erstwhile military regime when one makes any critical comments against the government, they will be picked up, brutalized, vanish and even murdered, but in the current regime, he and countless others are still speaking their minds without fear.
Hence, for fear of being picked up, brutalized, made to vanished and even be murdered for being vocal against the erstwhile PNDC regime, a lot of people adopted the mute approach by not speaking their minds when their freedom and lives were at stake, which induced the culture of silence in the country.
He, however, said that since you are vocal and critical against somebody, it is a natural reaction to be intimidated or heavily responded to by such individuals. That cannot suffice to be classified as a culture of silence in the right sense of the term.
Dr Gyampo made these pronouncements in an interview with Kwaku Tutu on the 100 Degrees program on Onua TV.
For his part, Odododiodio lawmaker Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye said there is a culture of silence in Ghana under the Akufo-Addo administration.
In his view, people are unable to express themselves freely without being insulted or attacked.
This situation, he said, is akin to the culture of silence comment that was recently made by businessman Sam Jonah.
The former Minister of Youth and Sports told Onua FM’s Yaa Titi Ocrah on the ‘Pae Mu Ka’ show on Monday, June 14 that “The culture of silence really exist in Ghana, and you don’t need anyone to say it. Today, you go on radio stations to speak, and you are afraid for your life.
“Journalists have been beaten and attacked for doing their work. Caleb Kudah of Citi FM was attacked; what has happened to the killers of Ahmed Suale? A Graphic reported was also attacked recently, so you don’t need anyone to tell you there is a culture of silence in Ghana.”
He added, “Today, people who used to go to Sam Jonah to seek knowledge are now sitting on radio insulting him because he has said the obvious truth.”
A former AngloGold Ashanti boss, Sam Jonah KBE, ignited this debate at a Rotary Club function.
Mr Sam Jonah said, “What is baffling is that those who used to have voices on these things seem to have lost their voices. People speak on issues base on who is in power”.
“Is our deafening silence suggesting that we are no longer concerned about issues that we complained about not too long ago, particularly when those issues persist. The molestation of and, in some cases, [the] assassination of journalists, murder of MPs, corruption, the harassment of anti-corruption agents”.
“We have just finished another election, the 8th in the series since the beginning of our fourth Republican democratic experiment. As usual, the accolades came in from all corners of the world, and we took them with pride. What we failed to tell the world is that some people lost their lives in the course of the election.”