I took to the streets of Accra interviewing children to know what they would do if they owned a media house (Radio & Television)! Their views as usual were interesting; I spotted a 14 year old student of the St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Kanda, she mentioned that she would use her media to meet the needs of both the young and old, I was surprised, she spoke of varieties of items for her audience and viewers at all times, allocating time for children’s story-telling and poetry recitals, also apportioning much of the time for Ghanaian Programs on air, why? She felt we were too open or over-exposed to western culture and this has affected our culture, not forgetting programs for children-run by children themselves, she had noticed nudity and sexual scenes on TV and said her media house would show movies with nude scenes late in the night, when most children are in bed. Interesting- huh?
I next spoke to a group of children who were from school and were on their way home, they said their TV or Radio stations would do entertainment all day, they would love to play their favourite songs and show their favourite movies, they mentioned quite a few, and believe me it was what they were much exposed to, probably. Two of the boys wanted Action movies and wrestling on their networks, they literally said they learn some fighting moves and use them on their friends whenever they fight i.e. a punch in the face or kick in the groin (fatal moves). Some of them also wanted Sports on their Stations; they equally wanted their peers to host many of the programs on their Stations. Cartoons/Animation was definitely on the program menu of another group of children, they said they would dedicate a station solely for that. Other children I spoke to had no idea what they would do if they owned a TV or Radio Station, I don’t know why, but they left my questions unanswered and shy.
My curiosity landed me in a household in Osu-Accra, where I saw an out-spoken girl who was ever ready to grant me the interview, Hannah was her name, “Hannah Coleman” she insisted I called her such, she is 10 years and is a student of Aggrey Memorial international School, in class five (fifth grade pupil). Hannah also wanted her class-mates esp. best friends to host all of her TV and Radio programs, she felt they were the best to handle those programs; she mentioned news as her number one program on her own TV station, then Telenovelas, Hannah mentioned over 7 Telenovelas of which I had personally watched 2 and she could recall names of casts too. I was shocked! So was my Cordinator, Mr. Kingsley O. Kyere as he listened to the sound bites I had gotten from my interviewees.
Bottom line? Children are discerning-they know what is on-all around them. Let’s not forget, Article 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) gives children the right to access the media with utmost responsibility. Are most children exposed to the right information esp. from the media? Secondly, Do these Scenes (nude and Violent) and Strong languages ensure a child’s development? Why aren’t movies rated? Who’s responsible for what gets on TV or on Radio? Where is the National Media Commission (NMC), what’s their role in this? Where do parents and older siblings come in? Am asking many questions right? They demand answers! Okay what do you personally think about this issue? I would be glad if you leave a comment. Thanks!