By Fidel Amakye Owusu
1. In recent years, there have been many issues concerning false news and propaganda that are churned out to consumers by news agencies and other media.
2. I have seen people accusing one news agency or another for producing sub-standard or biased news that ( they believe) favours particular interests. Westerners call out news agencies in other countries elsewhere.
3. The reverse is common. Sometimes, Westerners have accused their media agencies for not being “objective “.
4. And so what?
5. While a call for objective and neutral reporting may be seen as a noble one, there is nothing like neutral reporting anywhere—not that I know of. My experience, especially in recent times affirms this.
6. Since 2009, I have granted not less than 200 interviews and media engagements( conservative figure). The media agencies have been local, national and international. All agencies involved have had some form of “policy” that directed their activities.
7. These “policies” have often determined the selection of the topics and accompanying questions of agencies. Therefore, every news agency has a direction that makes it potentially biased.
8. I experienced this at the international level in recent months. A couple of months ago, in an interview with a big international news agency based in a Western European country, I was called before the interview in a conversation that looked like I had to tell them what I was going to say before I said it. Fortunately, I said whatever I wanted to say in the interview without any alteration.
9. Then, there was another in an Asian country that is known for its anti-west stance. The topic was on US presence in the Asia Pacific. The first question from the host suggested what was “expected” of me. Quite conscious of “my” history, I started by referring to 1941 Pearl Harbour. Almost immediately, I was told something had gone wrong with the internet connectivity. I could, however, hear the host. That was the end of the interview.
10. Admittedly both media agencies have continued to work with me. After the “Pearl Harbour” incident, the Asian media agency has engaged with me several times, but on issues other than US-related ones.
11.Essentially, therefore, every news agency that operates in a political space would have an “agenda”. It would be either against an external antagonist or an internal political opponent. This could be extreme or subtle.
12. What makes the difference is the discernment of the consumer. He or she needs to seek knowledge and go beyond the screens to understand events and developments. Regardless, I find media agencies in open societies to be more “objective”.

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

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