let's do it together Ishmael Yamson & Associates Business Roundtable 2020 #BRT2020

THEME: Democracy, Politics, Leadership, and the Development of Africa

  • 27th May, 2020
  • 09:00 AM GMT | Online

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Global Perspective

The path to sustainable development should meet the expectation of citizens and enterprises to achieve a vibrant democratic environment.

Politics

Independent democratic institutions require political leadership that demonstrate transparency and integrity needed for a vibrant democratic environment.

Democracy

Democratic Institutions must demonstrate responsiveness to the plight of their citizens for a vibrant democratic environment in Africa.

Development

Sustainable development is required to meet the expectation of citizens and enterprises in an ethical and responsive manner to deliver productivity, growth and global competitiveness in African enterprises.

Something must change Democracy, Politics, Leadership and the Development of Africa

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our speakers To explore the theme, we have a panel of distinguished leaders including…

Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas

United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel

Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas

Introducing Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Keynote Speaker for the 2020 Ishmael Yamson & Associates Business Roundtable on the theme Leadership, Democracy, Politics, and the Development of Ghana and Africa.
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Mr. Andrews Kwame Pianim

Business Economist and Investment Consultant

Mr. Andrews Kwame Pianim

Andrews Kwame Pianim is a celebrated Ghanaian business economist and investment consultant. After ten years as a political prisoner, he made a 1996 bid to run for the presidency of Ghana. Switching gears, he found success as a businessman in Accra.
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Mr. Kwasi Agyeman Busia

Chief Executive of DVLA

Mr. Kwasi Agyeman Busia

Mr. Kwasi Agyeman Busia has over 22 years of hands on experience in Business and Technology development, Strategic Planning, Project and People management.
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Dr. Emmanuel O. Akwetey

Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG)

Dr. Emmanuel O. Akwetey

Dr. Akwetey is the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG). He is a Political Scientist with a PhD degree in Comparative Politics and International Development obtained at the Stockholms Universitet in Sweden.
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Articles THE ROLE OF A FREE PRESS IN BUILDING A BETTER DEMOCRACY, POLITICS & LEADERSHIP IN GHANA

We sell silence; [……] you decide which article you want published: the first is free, the second costs 50,000 pesos.” – from The Merchant of Silence, by Enrique Serna.

It is possible and often necessary for the free press to play a role in securing and sustaining social equilibrium and political stability in an embryonic democracy. Sometimes, that presents editors and publishers with grave choices about what is in the ‘national interest’. And so begins [the slippery slope into] journalistic collaboration with political leaders, corruption shrouded in reasonableness and claims to preserve stability. It happened in Mexico and sustained the PRI in power for 70 years until 2000.

It happened in Ghana too.  The State media existed as a bulwark of our post-colonial, authoritarian military juntas, and even civilian governments.  Theirs became a culture steeped in ‘yessah massarism’, stripped of its role to probe unbiasedly, and promote independent thought.  Their focus was to help their political masters to keep power. 

The victims of the imposed, conscious oblivion were real.  It cost us vibrant debate of our development priorities and credible alternatives to government policy that would have saved us time on the path to development.   Eventually, it became an inescapable truth that the Press, behaving in this way, rendered Ghana bereft of the benefits of rules-based democracy and a vibrant politics. Maybe for these reasons, the sprinkling of occasions when the State-owned press acted as a free press, in the interest of enlightening Ghanaians to act as citizens are rightly celebrated passionately. 

The story of the Press acting against the best interests of a strong democracy, vibrant politics, and accountable leaders continues in Ghana. Today, the collaboration with political leaders frequently starts journalists down a slippery slope into corruption and acquiescence.  The ‘party station’, as we have come to know it, is the herald and evidence of the risks to the media in playing their role effectively as agents of development instead of becoming a disruptive and negative element in the development agenda for Ghana.  

The unwillingness of party-allied stations to probe robustly, critique fairly, and if necessary, expose ‘their side’ in news items, editorial pieces, discussion programmes or investigative journalism projects is accepted as norm.  Their focus again is to help their political favorite to keep power.  

The current paradigm promises to make the Press a polarizing feature in our democracy and politics in this age of social media, media syndication, and electronic media.  Our ‘free press’ today, often fails, at a minimum, to ask that seekers of political powers show credible, costed plans that addresses the needs and ambitions of Ghanaian for development, and which lead to transformations and fair opportunities for all. 

Beyond 2020, our Press must decide to make a departure from the partisanship that overlooks failure by leaders, which frustrates transparency in government, and fails to effectively hold favored political and corporate leaders accountable to citizens. 

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