What we have is a culture of noise, not silence – Elizabeth Ohene

Veteran journalist, Elizabeth Ohene says, contrary to business mogul Sam Jonah’s assertion that the country is slowly drifting into a culture of silence, the opposite is true.

The prolific writer stated in her latest articles that the country in the past few years has been hit with a barrage of cacophony on national airwaves “so much so we can’t hear one another.”
This, she refers to as a “culture of noise.”

“The people of Ghana have taken President Akufo-Addo at his word that they should be active citizens and everyone has something to say on everything. Everyone seems convinced he is right and has the answer to our problems,” she said.

This, she said, has fueled intolerance not just from the political class, but also from the average Ghanaian who engages in public discourse. “Those who see themselves as experts are far more intolerant of being challenged than anybody else,” she stated.

She added that both the government and the general public have a right to challenge views that oppose theirs, and in the process of government challenging a view that dissents from their own held views, it shouldn’t be tagged as perpetuating a culture of silence.

“Who says that journalists cannot get things wrong? Who says CSOs don’t have their own interests that they seek to protect and who says they are always right? Who says academics cannot get things wrong and why should challenging them be seen as intolerance?

“Why should it be that those in government or in Parliament or members of the judiciary can get things wrong and be told as much but if you disagree with their critics, then you are intolerant?”
According to the NPP stalwart, Sam Jonah’s claims of a culture of silence preserving are unfounded.
“I suggest the problem we have is that there is too much noise,” she concluded.

Her comments were in reaction to a speech delivered by Sam Jonah at a Rotary Club event in Accra where he stated that journalists, academics etc. were being gagged by government and government supporters for their dissenting views.

Sam Jonah had stated that the pervading silence was as a result “of the deep partisan polarisation of our country such that everything is seen through the lenses of politics. “It appears to me that the culture of silence has returned. This time not enforced by legal and military power but through convenience, parochialism, hypocrisy and lack of conviction. Where are our Adu Boahens and PV ANSAHs?”

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