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Presidential Media Encounter “worst ever” – Sulemana Braimah

Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, has said the President’s meeting with the media on Wednesday is the worst since the engagement was introduced.

He said the event could better be described as President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s address to the nation, not a media encounter.

Expressing his view on the exercise on Adom FM’s current affairs show, Burning Issues, Wednesday, December 19, 2018, Sulemana Braimah said “today’s encounter cannot be called Presidential and media encounter because what happened was, maybe the President was looking for a way to address the nation and they are branding it as meet the press because the entire meeting was about 90 minutes and what my team at the MFWA followed saw the President using about 71 minutes of the time and the entire questions all the journalists asked was 19 minutes”.

Mr Braimah believes the encounter was the worst since it was introduced under President John Kufuor’s administration.

He criticised the President for taking a chunk of the time allotted for the event to deliver a speech that was full of praise-singing.

 “An arrangement of this nature is supposed to give journalists the opportunity to ask as many questions as possible for the President to respond for the citizenry to understand but using all the time to address the nation with what’s on his heart, then I believe this is the worst of all the encounters that have happened,” he averred.

Sulemana Braimah also said the President “restated a lot of the things in his opening statement, chastising and castigating opposition and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)” when it was time to reply the few questions that journalists had the opportunity to ask.

He said the format introduced to guide how journalists should ask questions further worked against the success of the Presidential Media Encounter.

“One worst thing I think that happened today is asking journalists to indicate the sector they are going to ask their questions from at the time of registration because at a press conference, many would have gotten their questions from the statement of the President or maybe from a question a colleague may ask.

 “What if the President answers your question during his address and you have a different question to ask?” he asked.

He, however, touted the Ghana Journalists Association’s (GJA) involvement in the selection of journalists to ask the questions.

On the questions that were asked, Mr Braimah said the questions were generally good even though some questions were not up to the task.

Speaking on the same show, Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, disagreed with Mr Braimah saying, “opinions are like noses so if one has a view somewhere, he shouldn’t think his opinion is better than someone else’s”.

Mr Hadzide said the President should rather be applauded for meeting the media because he is not mandated by the constitution to do so, even if he [President Akufo-Addo] is not the first person to do so.

 

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