Information Centers in Ghana: A Blessing or A Curse?

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Information dissemination is one of the essential elements that ensure good societal living. This is due to the fact that it always enlightens members of a society or nation on all happenings so as not to be in darkness. Thus, various avenues for information distribution have sprung up in the 21st century especially. It is so pervasive that the often neglected and marginalized members of the nation, local people, have their package. In most local communities and developing areas and developing areas in urban centers referred to as new sites in Ghana, there has been the establishment of numerous information centers. Many of these information centers are owned by individuals and Non-Governmental organizations. However, the content of their operations makes many people wonder whether these viable information distribution avenues are indeed a blessing or a curse.

Of course, the information centers play powerful roles in the society. They serve as channels through which governmental policies, programs, and activities are announced to all sections of the Ghanaian populace. Popular announcements in societies from local authorities are channeled to residents via these information centers. In rural communities where the literacy and poverty ratios are very low, these avenues of information aid the poor to have access to key information on sensitive issues discussed nationally and globally in the field of health, education, politics, agriculture, religion and many other fields of life. Thus, to a large extent, these information centers are seen as a blessing for many people.

However, due to their seemingly unbridled freedom and lack of monitoring, many Ghanaians are beginning to feel that these centers of information are a curse. This is largely due to the negative implications for their poor service delivery that is raising eyebrows among concerned citizens and agencies. One of these has to do with the time for the commencement of their duties. The majority of these information centers starts their operation at dawn around the early hours of the day when many workers are still resting or sleeping to gain enough strength to face the hectic moments of the new day's work. To them, the loud and inconsiderate sounds from the blazing speakers from the information centers are nothing but a mere disturbance of their well-deserved sleep and a curse in disguise.

Still, others are perturbed by the deceit spread by many of these information centers about the benefits of the products and services of companies and enterprises that they broadcast to the general public. Since the prime objective of many of these information delivery establishments is to make a profit, they use various means to convince the listening ears by sometimes throwing dust into their eyes to patronize the buying of these often aggrandized benefits of the products and services of enterprises that pay for the advertisement they offer to them. As such, herbal medicine that does not cure certain ailments is lavishly portrayed to do so to persuade especially the less enlightened rural poor.

Moreover, many of these information centers have been fertile grounds of fake religious leaders and organizations who deceive the masses and exploit them for their monies. The operators of these information centers often use their privilege to impose their personal ideologies that are sometimes flawed to be taken by the general public. Thus, if the services that most of these information centers offer are not regularly monitored with clear limits set for them, they would abuse their powers and throw the majority of the members of the general public in great darkness, defeating their primary objective as disseminators of light in terms of information delivery.

Therefore, the Ministry of Information must streamline rules governing their operation to bring sanity into their service delivery, such as the time for starting and ending their operations. A monitoring team from their outfit must regularly visit and inspect the services these scattered information centers in many parts of the country offer to the general populace. Intensive research into how their services affect the general public must be carried out intermittently to arrest the discrepancies in their service delivery to derail the negative feelings that many Ghanaians have toward them. More important, operators at these stations must be vetted to vouch for their journalism skills before they are allowed to operate. Also, there should be an institution of a form of training to hone their skills in the service delivery. They must be given a set criterion to administer the advertisement of enterprises and companies so as not to exaggerate the makeup and benefits of their products to deceive the general public. When all these recommendations are implemented, the information centers in Ghana would not be seen as a curse, but rather as a blessing as it rightly should be to the members of the Ghanaian populace.