Pastor Mensa Otabil has said the media in Ghana are so “depressing” and full of “mediocrity” – a situation, he said, compels him to prefer watching foreign TV channels that show documentaries about animals rather than wasting his time listening to local radio or watching local TV stations.
The founder of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) told his congregation on Sunday, 4 March during the church’s 34th anniversary service that rather than focusing on discussing and finding solutions to the numerous problems confronting the country, Ghanaian media choose to wallow in ceaseless political discussions all-year round.
“ … If you listen to our national conversations, you wonder: are we serious? We eat and drink politics.
“Turn on radio; here [Ghana], there is no political vacation. From the time the vote is cast to the time the next vote is cast, we argue politics morning, afternoon, evening.
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“Check all your top radio talk shows, take politics out and they have nothing to talk about again. I won’t even say take politics out, take NPP and NDC out – just say this morning, no NPP, no NDC, there’ll be no conversation because we can’t even think beyond two parties, we can’t think any ideas, we can’t think solutions and we are driving ourselves into this abyss of hopelessness,” Pastor Otabil bemoaned.
He said to avoid polluting himself with the content churned out by local media, he hardly pays attention to them.
“I don’t listen to Ghanaian radio much, I will listen maybe for 15 minutes and shut off because it’s very depressing. It will contaminate your soul.
“I don’t watch Ghanaian TV much. I watch a little – one, two, three – and I say: ‘Oh, nothing has changed, go back’.
“I will watch animals, I’ll watch cheetah, I’ll watch lion, I’ll watch antelope anytime, I’ll watch cheetahs anytime, I’ll watch giraffes anytime because, at least, they’ll tell me how to hunt, how to get your goal, how to avoid being eaten. I’ll learn that from the antelope. At least, I’d come back and say: ‘Nobody will eat me’. But you [listen to] Ghanaian radio, watch Ghanaian TV and you wonder: ‘are we still here; the mediocrity?’”
In Dr Otabil’s opinion, the quality of Ghanaian media has sunk to the lowest standard and still sinking.
“The excellence that we used to have is all gone down. Instead of raising the bar higher, we’ve lowered it and lowered it and every time we lower it lower and lower and lower and lower and we have huge problems.
“I don’t mind if Americans don’t talk about serious things, they have solved part of their problems. I don’t mind if Germans decide to joke with their destiny and the British decide to joke, but we have no choice – what kind of joke – because we are in a huge mess,” he observed.