The Communication Students Association of Ghana, University for Development Studies chapter held its annual welcoming of freshers ceremony on Thursday 26 October, 2017. The theme for the ceremony was Developing Communities: the Role of Social Change in Communication. Abdul Hayi Moomen of GBC was the guest speaker for the ceremony, where he spoke on the prowess of a journalist, stereotypes and his experience as a professional journalist.
Speaking to communication students at the University for Development Studies, Nyankpala campus he discussed topics on the power of the media, how the media can serve both as an instrument of positive change and a tool for destruction, and how it has shaped our culture and religion over the past years.
Speaking on religion and stereotypes he said, “let a man enter here with a beard and zalab say assalamualaikum, we will all start to run because the media has made us believe a man with a beard, bearing a Muslim name is a terrorist.”
He commented on media reportage on the northern parts of the country. According to Mr. Moomen, the media has tagged Northern people as warlike people. He said that journalists in this part of the country sometimes report the news in ways that reinforce the negative stereotypes about this part of the country.
Speaking to the students he said, “Recently, I was in Tamale. When the students were registering for the NSS and a colleague of mine was reporting at the scene he said, ‘Tamale is on fire, there is vandalism and chaos, people are fighting.'” He intimated that the reporter in his quest to sustain his job made his mother, father and entire family look foolish in the eyes of others. Mr. Moomen believes that this issue is not limited to journalists but extends to the gatekeepers who control media organizations and systems. He believes that GBC’s lack of interest in sensationalizing stories may be the reason why people don’t tune in to the state broadcaster.
He urged communication students to conduct themselves ethically by not allowing themselves to be used as tools of needless sensationalism.
Touching on the issue of neutrality and objectivity in journalism, he shocked everyone by saying, “I can’t be neutral and there is no journalist who is neutral in my point of view but, I try to be critical and objective in the way I do my bit as a journalist.”
Abdul Hayi Moomen is hailed as the only journalist in Ghana to report from the war front in in Somalia and Afghanistan.
When he was asked about his greatest challenge as a journalist. He confessed “My Greatest challenge has been, I’m a Northerner and I have black skin.”
He explained that in Ghana, he feels ethnic bigotry the most when he is outside the Northern sector of the country. And abroad he experiences discrimination because of the color of his skin. According to him, these experiences have not prevented him from doing his work excellently and being outspoken about his beliefs and values.
Abdul Hayi Moomen known for his Nyaba series on social media, couldn’t end the conversation without telling one of his Nyaba tales; he narrated the story about the liar and the witch. He is currently working on a book titled Thoughts of a Gossip. Copies will be made available as soon as it is published.
Social Change Communication was introduced in to the University for Development Studies in 2013, under the Faculty of Agribusiness. Abdul-Hayi Moomen joins the likes of veteran journalist Kwesi Pratt Jnr. and Manasseh Azure Awuni of Joy FM as honorary members. He was presented with a citation and a Comsag cloth.
About the Writer
Fusheini Salifu is a third year student of Social Change Communication at the University for Development Studies, Nyankpala. He’s the Public Relations Officer for the Northern Region Students Union( NORSU). He enjoys reading novels, is jovial and a music lover.