In the aforementioned documentary, the cover was blown off the secret activities of a medical doctor who is alleged to have taken advantage of a mentor-mentee relationship to have unnatural carnal knowledge of an adventurous and ambitious 16 year old SHS student.
One can only say that the media in Ghana, given the needed attention could become a model for other media in the sub region and the world as a whole.
Investigative journalism seeks to expose unethical, immoral and illegal behaviour by government officials, politicians as well as private citizens (Kovach and Rosenstiel, 2007, pp.145-9).
This genre of journalism has the potential to make a worthwhile contribution to society by “drawing attention to failures within society’s systems of regulation and to the ways in which those systems can be circumvented by the rich, the powerful and the corrupt’’ (de Burgh, 2008, p. 3).
Analyzing the documentary from my perspective, I suppose there are a few issues that ought to be brought to the fore with respect to segment of the documentary which features the alleged sodomy case involving a senior high school student and the senior medical doctor.
To begin with, taking a critical look at the way in which the investigator covers the story, the investigator makes us understand that the victim was unwilling to speak but was encouraged by some professionally trained nurses at the KBTH to speak to him.
I find this style of newsgathering very intriguing. I feel there is some iota of insensitivity and negligence on the part of the investigator considering the fact he goes to interview the victim who had undergone surgery and in pain and even after being discharged he is taken to the places where he was subjected to primary victimization to relate these gruesome details to the investigator.
The victim is forced to relive these psychologically traumatizing experiences which only further victimize the victim.
This I think is just a typical example of bad journalism practice by professional journalists in this country.
Also, I find it also very interesting that hospitals and to be more specific the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital does not actually see anything wrong with a journalist interviewing a hospitalized patient.
It seems to me the hospital don’t even care about the psychological needs of their patients.
The documentary also leaves me perturbed as to who could be faulted for making public, personally identifiable information of the victim.
The investigator only partially protected the identity of the victim who is a minor.
The victim himself in the course of the interview gave out some information which I doubt he could be held responsible considering the fact he could be ignorant of the media.
All these bits of information well knitted together by interested persons could lead to tracing of the victim and victimization of the victim and also stigmatization of the victim by the society.
The victim I doubt even had access to legal advice before narrating the incident to the journalist considering the manner in which he related some vital information to the journalist.
Prior to the airing of the complete documentary, the section containing the alleged sodomy was aired. In fact, that section was very newsworthy considering the personalities involved.
The mass media picked up the story and lo and behold…newspaper front pages as well as online portals went awash with the similar headline; “gay medical doctor sodomizes SHS boy.”
It is just surprising that media outlets can prima facie, draw conclusion that the said act occurred without the suspect being declared guilty by a court. Was it an attempt by the media to sensationalize the issue?
Let us continue by taking a critical look at the description of the suspect in the immediate and much subsequent reportage by the some mass media. This qualification of the suspect who is senior medical doctor as gay, I find misleading particularly when in the documentary it is explicitly indicated that the suspect is married with kids.
Clearly, the suspect fits the bisexual category than that of gay. One also really wonders whether there is a deliberate attempt to make the public think a married man can never be involved in such activities.
Furthermore, I find the segment of the documentary which takes a look into the personal life of the suspect unwarranted. Particularly, his commissions and omissions back in high school.
The purpose of the investigation I suppose was to expose the alleged sexually dehumanizing acts by the doctor.
How would those who are associated with the suspect and in the set of people described as being overly protected by the suspect feel and how would the society in which we live relate with these people .
The investigator ought to have known that we live in a very extremely homophobic and judgmental society, hence the private life of individuals ought not to be toyed with just in an attempt to gain rating.
Going forward, journalists in this country must learn to apply the how, where and when to approach victims of crime in the post crime period for interviews in order not subject them to secondary victimization by they themselves and the society in which we live.
I believe some of the approaches are just symptomatic of a society where things are done crudely with aim of getting result.
Finally, people are desperate for justice, radio they say gets results. The media can help them get justice, but of benefit is justice gained with help of the media, if its secondary victimization you would be subjected in a society where proper structures to help rehabilitate victims of crime are just lacking.
The writers email: [email protected]