Speaking on the topic, “Culture Reporting – The opportunities and challenges for national development” at a media sensitisation and training workshop at the W.E.B Dubois Centre in Accra last Thursday, Prof. Karikari said the media’s illiteracy in local languages was a major challenge to its promotion of culture.
The workshop was organised by the Ghana Culture Forum, a civil society network of cultural practitioners, activists, and organisations united around a common vision of affirming the cultural foundations of developments and enhancing the cultural sector.
Prof Karikari who is the Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, noted that there had not been any successful newspaper published in any of the local languages since the publication of the first newspaper in 1822 by Sir Charles McCarthy.
“If you check the history of the establishment of the newspaper industry which is over a century and counting, it is very surprising there has not been any successful newspaper in any of our local languages.
Currently, all of our newspapers are in the English language and that is media illiteracy because a society that doesn’t use its language in writing doesn’t go far,” he said.
Professor Karikari, who is also the Dean of the School of Communication Studies at the Wisconsin International University College, said the role of the media in promoting the various aspects of culture could not be ignored.
“It is a fact that GBC Radio was vital in making highlife music popular in the 70s but it is unfortunate that you hardly hear this same highlife on our airwaves lately,” he stated.
While admitting that the advent and growth of technology had enhanced world culture, Prof. Karikari said the media must not be swayed by it “to the loss of our own”.
His opinions were shared by the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Ghana, Akunu Dake, who pointed out, during a panel discussion, that Ghana must not lose its own culture, while embracing others.
He mentioned how the adoption of culture, for instance, in what we wore and ate had a significant impact on the economic growth of the country.
“If we eat our local foods, we give value to our farmers who grow what we eat and in the same vein, wearing our local prints also provides jobs for many people,” he said.
In an earlier presentation on the theme, “Projecting our National Culture- The Challenges and Opportunities for the Media Practitioner,” the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi, encouraged Ghanaians to be proud of their cultural heritage since culture was the bedrock of tourism.
Speaking with the Daily Graphic after the event, the Chairperson of the Ghana Culture Forum, Asare Konadu Yamoah, said the organistion was focused on pursuing and intervening to get culture and its related issues to take their place in development policies.
He said the workshop was one of the ways of sensitising the media to be part of and appreciate the initiative. “It is time to amplify the voice of cultural actors and to get them to consider ways of improving their circumstances as well,” he said.
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