Archive for category Local media – TV

Facebook Home Ad – Spot Ghanaian moment


I was watching the new Facebook Home ad on YouTube and spotted a Ghanaian moment.

You know, the Ghanaian handshake [and snap].

That snap of fingers that makes the Ghanaian handshake unique….was captured accurately in the ad.

I’m wondering who, in Facebook’s creative department or their Ad agency team, pulled this off?

I bet this shot was taken in Ghana!

Image 1

Finger snap

The break

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Of a mad man – Ken Agyapong, a twitter bully and the invisible hand of 2012 election connecting them


So I am minding my business as a student and thinking of internships and finals and the coming summer break…

..but here I am blogging about Ghana not because I am feeling nostalgic about a Ghanaian Easter/ Christmas and Azonto dance moves and the things that make me proud to be a Ghanaian but contemplating the implications of Ken Agyapong’s ‘declaration of war‘ in response to allegations of minors registering for the upcoming presidential elections in Ghana.

Arrogance, ignorance and money make for a bad combination in a culture where rich people are celebrated and vested with power. To even read that some persons besieged the Ghana Police Headquarters to demand the release of Ken Agyapong beats my wildest imaginations. I wonder if they understood Ken’s call for people to butcher others with machetes? and what misery a war can bring.

Most NPP politicians have decidedly kept quiet or risen to Ken’s defense or try to dampen the severity of his call for war. How can such a graphic call to war involving slashing fellow Ghanaians with machetes be explained away as ‘metaphorical’ and with no bad intentions? Counsel to Ken or no, Atta Akyea just lost all the respect I had for him as an educated gentleman and lawyer.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”

I applaud all who have roundly called Ken Agyapong’s outburst for what it is and Ghanaian artistes for their quick response and attempt to use social media to call for peace albeit wrongly targeted. The general populace who listen to Ken’s radio are not your usual twitter/facebook fans. Get your music together and do a peace concert. Throw in some Azonto competition and defuse this Ken Agyapong madness.

In other remotely related happenings on twitter in Ghana:

I will decidedly not mention any twitter handles but I think that some celebs shouldn’t ask some persons to campaign for peace in Ghana. People follow people on twitter for different reasons just as houseflies will settle on pastries and cow dung. Point here is that because someone is popular on twitter for breaking gossip doesn’t mean they have legitimacy to ask people to take socially positive action.

“Adjapong might be right. If only NDC didnt allow Togolese people into the border to register to vote all this wont happen!”

The above is what you get. SMH..

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CNN.com hangs Ghanaian youth on bad reporting by motherboard.tv


CNN.com Editor’s note: The staff at CNN.com has been intrigued by the journalism of Vice, an independent media company and Web site based in Brooklyn, New York. Motherboard.tv is Vice’s site devoted to the overlap between culture and technology. The reports, which are being produced solely by Vice, reflect a very transparent approach to journalism, where viewers are taken along on every step of the reporting process. We believe this unique approach is worthy of sharing with our CNN.com readers.

The Background

On 5th April, 2010, an article hit the internet and got the attention of most Ghanaians. The link to Motherboard.tv website was the first that made the rounds and was soundly trashed by most Ghanaians who saw the untruths in the supposed research article. But things soon came to a head when the article showed up on CNN.com on 6th April, 2010 15.30GMT. Before long the story had been twittered and retweeted, the reports read over and again.
At this point most of us were fuming and crying blue murder and uttering expletives behind close doors at the injustice of it all. Didn’t CNN.com see the comments posted by Ghanaians showing their disgust at the inaccuracies and outright lies they found in the article at the time they decided to give it global prominence by featuring it?
Well, the Editor’s note above the motherboard.tv article (Inside the criminal world of Ghana’s e-mail scam gangs) sheds some light on how this situation has come to be and why most people are questioning the editorial policy and agenda of CNN.com. Did it cross the editor’s mind that use of figures like 99% to 1% point to [fallacy of] generalization which is a sign of questionable research methodology? or no research at all? Did he care to google to see our presidential palace?

CNN.com’s stance

How an editor would make a decision to give an article about the youth of Ghana and Ghanaian society such prominence just because ”the staff at CNN.com has been intrigued by the journalism of Vice…” also intrigues me; beats me that thoroughness and honesty was put aside in this case in favour of curiosity and fascination. Is it a coincidence that another definition of intrigue is: make secret plans to do something illicit or detrimental to someone? Does the proximity between the dates of publishing on the respective sites indicate a planned thing? For the conspiracy theorists and linguistics among us, let us ponder this together.

By featuring this article on CNN.com the editor has endorsed Thomas Morton (aka Baby Balls) and his media company and lent them CNN’s credibility if not in all past and future articles, at least in this particular one. To wit, CNN.com is telling us that ‘we would have come to same conclusion if we undertook a research on Sakawa in Ghana’. But in the same breathe the editor manages to insert a caveat (The reports, which are being solely produced by Vice…) distancing CNN.com from any future questioning of the accuracy of the content of Vice’s Motherboard.tv report. Same device is employed again in the note (We believe this unique approach is worthy of sharing with our CNN.com readers) where the Editor endorses the methodology but not the article explicitly. Now isn’t that interesting? One has to leave a wriggle room when things come to a head. Nice job!

When African culture and social structures are viewed and reported through the lens of a young man (Thomas Morton) whose expertise some years back was reporting on sex, drugs and rock music and not done with honest research but with misrepresentations, you bet some of us will show our displeasure.

The Journalist, Thomas Morton

I did a little research about Thomas Morton but didn’t get much by way of his academic background but got interesting facts like his sobriquet, Baby Balls; because he happens to be a vertically challenged man who lives on the edge and challenges the status quo of investigative journalism. He did a report on pollution of the sea and his video report was noted to be laden with so many expletives that his point couldn’t be carried across to the intended student audience. I’ll only say that he’s an interesting fellow with a background in investigating sex, drugs and rock music. Please check for yourself if you care.

Thomas has used unrelated imagery to make his point.

It is interesting to see Thomas dancing with a fetish priest in a possible sakawa ritual? Is that the evidence he has as proof of an underground economy rife with mysticism and sacrifices and blood rituals? I can offer without being there that what he partook of is a mini-durbar or some other traditional occasion. I can assure him that the priests who work in this cyber-juju industry have a cruel air to them and don’t dance for public viewing and no, they don’t dance with white men because they’re undertaking some research.

It is sad that Thomas will misrepresent a traditional cultural event as a blood ritual for sakawa purposes. This is a betrayal of the trust of the elders who gave him the opportunity to experience first hand the rich cultural practices and heritage in Ghana. You can’t expect better from someone who wanted to get his video out anyhow, with cooked up evidence or not.

I can see an internet cafe from a thousand miles and that picture of a man clicking away at a pc is not one of an internet cafe; it is someone’s office. Internet cafes are crammed places whether in Ghana or in the States. What has a birds-eye view of a sprawling slum, refuse dump and a trotro station somewhere in Accra got to do with anything, if not to create in the minds of his audience a bleak economic situation that in his assertion can and is leading Ghanaian youth to take up Sakawa full-time.

It is very easy for Thomas to attribute his perceived pervasive sakawa practice among Ghanaian youth to corruption among the elite without providing any evidence. As Graham Knight noted,”distortions, exaggerations and untruths come easy when reporting Africa because they build upon a set of common themes [entrenched in western media] in which certain stereotypes are taken for granted”.

On my behalf and on behalf of other bloggers and Ghanaian youth who feel globally humiliated because of CNN.com editor’s gross neglect of journalistic ethics of due diligence and fair and objective reporting, I request that
1. Mr. Thomas Morton’s report be taken off CNN.com if blogposts condemning his report will not be given same prominence or,
2. Blogposts from Ghana or by Ghanaians condemning Mr. Thomas Morton’s report be allowed to run alongside it and,
3. CNN.com (CNN BackStory team) sponsors a project with the soon to be registered Ghanablogging community to undertake a thorough research into the sakawa phenomenon.

In conclusion I will say that there are more aspiring footballers in Ghana than there will ever be sakawa-money hungry boys because our professional footballers plying their trade in Europe are better role models and have more money. Oh Mr. Morton wouldn’t know that because he is not a fan of football, my bad, soccer!

FOOTNOTE:

Preamble to SPJ Code of Ethics: Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behaviour and adopt this code to declare to Society’s principles and standards of practice.

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The double-edged sword of technology – case of sexually abused University of Ghana student


I have been reading a lot of blog posts (DAIXY, Dustyfootgirl, CriticalPoint)and comments about the case of Amina and one thing is clear, most people clearly and unequivocally denounce the actions of the Mensah Sarbah hall students who took the law into their own hands and sexually assaulted a fellow student who they had caught stealing.

What led to this blog post were a couple of comments by (mostly) some men that this case of Amina [sexual assault] is being given too much attention and blown out of proportion. What you find common in their comment is that Amina is getting so much attention because it is a case of a woman, or in some cases saying that same noise would not be made if it was a man who was [sexually] assaulted (by other men or women?).

This argument, I think reflects a general mindset of some men who feel threatened by womens’ rights and pro-feminist [affirmative] actions or a denouncement of any male testosterone-charged acts of folly that in their minds is their privilege.

But this blog post is not about such men who can’t distinguish a condemnation of an ACT as heinous as the one perpetuated from a feminist agenda. This is about the role of technology in the unique context of a sexual assault case caught on tape, shared over the internet and the issues arising.

Technology has played an important role albeit positive and negative.

1. It has given a wider audience an opportunity to see an act so heinous we’re all reeling from the effect of a wanton display of human rights abuse.

2. It has preserved forever a traumatic experience of an individual.

3. It has brought to the fore the human taste for the morbid and also brought out the best of/multiple human emotions including fear, empathy and need for justice.

4. It has helped open an opportunity for mob-justice to be seen and addressed.

I am among the many people who have witnessed ponding, [as I described in my previous post] but like most of you, we have not seen it on YouTube. I can barely recollect the faces or names of the few guys I witnessed going through a ponding session and somehow I am happy for it. Whoever underwent ponding for theft wouldn’t have to relive that experience every time they saw the video somewhere. The internet is like an echo that never ends; an echo that is carried on and on; an echo that is reechoed just when one thinks the sound is dying down. Amina will forever remain in the minds of people because of this video but also she will relive the experience whenever she sees the video reported on the news, mentioned in a conversation or even intimated in a conversation that her ordeal was ever captured on video and probably residing on people’s hard drives and phones.

The human taste for the morbid is a paradox. We feed on tragedy but don’t want to be in them. We have to even exercise restraint to not go back to see this video as is the case of most people [who for bizarre reasons still have the video sitting on their desktops]. As Daixy said in her post, it was scary how fast the video went viral. Would people have recommended the video so fast and with glee if it were something intellectually challenging or even a newly discovered animal or natural phenomenon? I think not!! Some of the comments I saw on twitter and facebook made me wonder if some of those people would have acted any differently from the assaulters of Amina and the possibility that some might have still scares me.

But there are positives that should be highlighted, credit that can be given to technology [not to mention the fool who decided to video it for his private/ viral/ public consumption of mob-justice]. The video can lead to the apprehension of some students (witnesses or perpetrators) and help in investigations that will? (may) ultimately lead to justice for Amina and the correction of a wrong that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, on a university campus of all places.

Technology has brought to light something that most of us would never have had the opportunity to see or to even appreciate the gravity of. That in itself is not a benefit but it definitely serves as a call to action and will forever gnaw at the minds of people in authority till they do something in response that will be measured in the public eye as a commensurate response to the ordeal Amina went through.

Our attitude to mob-justice has been challenged to the core by the video we saw. The campaigners against mob-justice now have a powerful tool to highlight their point. Our own fears of the [remote] possibility of us or someone we know suffering same ordeal has rocked us to the core as it should. In a call for justice for Amina we’re acting on a natural instinct of self-preservation. No one wants to go this way.

I must say that I have not seen the gory details of the whole video [save for the edited version I watched with Graham on TV3] and whiles I can’t get Amina’s look of sheep-caught-in-the-midst-of-wolves out of my mind, I am grateful I know people whose judgment and [emotional] response I can trust. I have seen human empathy at its best, demonstrated through a thorough condemnation and show of disgust at the ill-treatment of Amina through blog posts, radio call-ins and general discussions. Someone told me, ‘please don’t watch the video if you haven’t seen it’; it is that bad and can take one through a rollercoaster of emotions.

In conclusion however, I will want a few persons who think this issue is being given too much attention to think these through. Would they rather this had happened to a man for them to gauge public response? Would they rather physical damage be done to Amina to finally get them to lend their FULL voice to the campaign for justice?

No, I can assure you Amina has been psychologically scarred enough [ and will need all the support the University of Ghana guidance and counseling session can give her.] No, I don’t need to see another video of a human being fending off many hands from different directions in a bid to not drown in the furor of tugging and poking. No, I don’t want to see another person fighting to maintain their personal dignity against a throng that will not give ear to their pleas for mercy.

Amina wasn’t given a chance but technology has now given us a chance to call for justice for Amina; justice that through our indifference towards mob-justice was denied her the moment she was caught in an act of theft. An opportunity to call on the police to get closer to the public, hold citizens’ arrest trainings and other ways to manage thieves. An opportunity to call on the University of Ghana authorities to put policies in place and spearhead a national discourse on [stopping] mob-justice and by so calling these people to action, we will be securing the lives of our friends and loved ones.

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A Culture of Insults?


Growing up was fun and sometimes difficult because I couldn’t get away with much. There was no way I could insult a playmate without getting a scolding from a passing adult. There was no way I was going to see or hear an insult on TV or in a movie. There were fewer television programs back then.

I still remember Aku Shika as one of my favourite Ghanaian movies. The movie producers made up for their poor equipment by producing educative, funny and generally better movies. The ever popular Sunday evening Osofo Dadzi was not popular because it was the ‘only’ show but because it remained innovative, comic and stayed true to its moral themes.

This post was inspired by Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood and an observation made by Graham.

Things have definitely changed.

 

It is not now as it hath been of yore;—

Turn wheresoe’er I may,

By night or day,

The things which I have seen I now can see no more.


Are we slowly descending into a Culture of Insults? I think we are! And I’m not even talking about politicians here. I’m talking about the many insults trotro drivers and taxi drivers hurl at each other and other road users. I am talking about the local Ghanaian language movies that sell for cheap and find their way into our homes and broadcast to our television sets. I am talking about all the insults we are taking in and likely to give back after they have festered and can’t be suppressed any longer.

If there is something I hate about public transportation, it is that trotro drivers and their mates insult just about everyone they encounter in the line of duty.

– How many times haven’t trotro drivers honked at and insulted private drivers who are waiting ahead of them at a traffic light? [moments before the light turns green].

– How many times haven’t trotro drivers overtaken and insulted private drivers who [have made the conscious effort to] respect the speed limit, road signs and the zebra-crossing

– I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a trotro driver insult a private driver or a pedestrian just for the sake of it; calling a private driver ‘a privileged *insert expletive*’ is so commonplace that some passengers in these buses laugh or throw in their insults for good measure.

I can’t stand insults in Ghanaian movies, especially those that are meant to incite laughter . Why can’t Agya Koo, Judas and Kyewaa say or do something funny or say something witty?

– Casting my mind back to Kwaw Ansah’s Love Brewed in the African Pot, I wonder where all the smart people in the Ghanaian movie industry went. Can’t we simply produce a comic moment that will be as memorable as the closing scene of the #LBitAP any longer? Without resorting to insults?

– Unless I’m wrong, everyone of these movies is supposed to carry a socio-cultural message. You can check their titles or watch how in the end the good always triumphs over the evil, how Ghanaian traditions are upheld and portrayed in all of its splendour. [the typical Ghanaian storyline]. However, what the audience take from these movies are the many insults. The chain of insults can be heard playing on people’s cell phones and the latest of them are actually discussed.

– You find adults laughing when they hear kids throwing these same insults around because they happen to be quoting Agya Koo or Kyewaa. (And before you think that you don’t fall in this category, remember that ‘this category’ happens to be the majority of the Ghanaian population).

Don’t tolerate this creeping phenomenon. Don’t let us stand by while Ghana descends into a culture of insults.

Reproach a kid you see insulting another kid because that is the Ghanaian thing to do. And, remind an adult to watch his/her language [if the circumstances permit] because that is the Ghanaian thing to do.

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Ghanaian movies & ‘their’ music videos…


Artist: Shegee

Song: Shame

I’m sure some of you have seen this song?(music video) or a similar one on Crystal? TV and I’m certain most of you cannot even remember the chorus to the song.

I like innovation, heck, I like (doing) new things…but the NEW!! trend of advertising Ghanaian movies by releasing a music video is a sorry attempt at selling or marketing.

These music videos are poorly written, poorly sang, poorly directed and poorly produced. They simply reek of poor quality and they are flooding our TV sets and wasting our precious family times behind the set.

You know the music video falls within this category when you see these:

 

1. Unknown artists eg. Sheege

2. Cheesy and poorly sang verses

3. Easily Forgettable Choruses

4. Excerpts of the movie playing in the music video

 

Bad songs like these do not deserve the attention or airtime they get, no wonder they never make it onto any nomination or awards list.

Methinks these songs do not represent Ghana’s rich musical culture!!

 

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Laugh a Minute – make it a Late Night show


David Oscar can tell jokes, no doubt and he can do nice mimes to go with them.

I think on the 4th September (yesterday) for the first time on Ghana television (Viasat1), a presenter used “SHIT!” and got the *beep*. Guess who did? David Oscar!!!

After getting his *beep*he flashed his nice set of teeth and I bet it was mischief I saw in his eyes (the kind that goes like ‘Yes I did it, I said SHIT on TV when KSM, Fritz Baffour hadn’t…cool!!’

Back to my point, Late night(10pm/11pm-ish) shows like Jimmy Kimmel’s do not necessarily contain explicit or R-rated content but are so timed because they are still inappropriate for kids.

Now I mentioned KSM and Fritz because they brought satire and live comedy to the GH and I support their shows running when kids are awake because they are satiric and ‘intelligent’ jokes. Isn’t it fun to watch a vulganizer sign reading ‘Borganiser Here’ on KSM’s show with your younger siblings and take the opportunity to ask them how it is spelt correctly?

Do the mental comparison and take action.

Once again, Will you want your child to laugh when someone falls or you want them to say sorry like well mannered kids are supposed to?

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