It is sad how a news bulletin on some Twi-speaking radio stations can turn into an episode of ‘Teacher Kwadwo’ comic video on his youtube channel.
A bulletin where entire stories which are meant to educate and inform are reduced to stories of comic relief and entertainment. Stories with big and important headlines are turned into pure comedy.
As it stands, a Twi-speaking citizen does not even get the level of seriousness that is meant to be conveyed in a news story.
Ghana is dominated by people who speak and understand Twi better than any other Ghanaian language. It is even fair to say that Ghana’s ‘universal languages’ are English and Twi. I know more than four people who learned to speak Twi before they did English.
According to Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, Akan refers to the language of the Akan ethnic group of Ghana. It is also spoken in the central and eastern parts of Cote d’Ivoire.
Akan comprises three main mutually intelligible dialects: Fante, Asante Twi, and Akwapim Twi. Asante Twi is widely used. Akan is the most widely spoken and used indigenous language in Ghana. About 44%, of Ghana’s population of about 22 million, speak Akan as their first language.
However, about 80% of Ghanaians speak Akan as a first and second language.
It is officially recognized for literacy, at least at the lower primary (Primary 1-3) level, and studied at university as a bachelor or master’s program. It is the most important indigenous language of Ghana. It is the language of the Western, Central, Ashanti, Eastern, Brong Ahafo regions, and the northern portion of the Volta region of Ghana. A form of Akan is also spoken in South America, notably Suriname and Jamaica.
The language came to these places through the slave trade. Akan names and folktales are still used in these countries. With the present state of technology, one can listen to live radio broadcasts in Akan from numerous radio stations.
Akan is studied in major universities in the United States, including Ohio University, Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin, Harvard University, Boston University, Indiana University, Michigan University, and The University of Florida.
It has been a regular African language of study in the annual Summer Cooperative African Languages Institute (SCALI) program.
Based on these facts, you would think that this will motivate them to do better or restrategize, but NO! They continue to make the news seem so little.
It is sad, maybe even annoying that a serious case as the defilement of a minor can be made to be funny when there is nothing funny about it.
I still remember an experience like this in a ‘troski’, when a news anchor was reading a report on the defilement of a minor, I remember vividly because it made me so angry especially because I felt there should have been a little more empathy conveyed in the story.
The story was presented with so much joviality that one would think it was actually a comedy. It made the story seem so insignificant and unserious, but worse of all, this story, a defilement story, which is so serious an offence, was presented in a manner that had the passengers in the bus bursting out in laughter. I couldn’t help but wonder if it would have been the same situation if it had been the child of the anchor or anyone close to her.
Some in their bid to sound funny, also tweak the facts of the story, leaving the ordinary Ghanaian who may not have access to read further on the story, misinformed.
The fact that so many people depend on these stations for accuracy and objectivity in the stories they report and get nothing close to it in turn. Misconstrued, exaggerated reports that are either belittled or made to be bigger than what they actually are, this is so sad.
I think that Twi-speaking stations need to review their system of giving news and restrategize to ensure that they reach the masses to educate and inform them rather than just make them laugh.
A bit of humour to spice up the presentation wouldn’t be bad but that should not affect the verity or otherwise of a news item.
By: Daisy Palinwinde Jacobs| Ghana weekend