http://www.africandictator.org/?p=2763 The Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Prof. Kwame Karikari, has stated that the ownership of media enterprises by politicians is a dangerous thing that can be used to foment trouble. The Dictator Connection He said examples from countries in the West African sub-region and elsewhere showed that politicians used their media establishments to fan strife and promote genocide during conflicts, adding that Ghana needed to guard against that phenomenon. Using Cote dIvoire, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia as examples, Prof Karikari said the media outfits owned by politicians were used to cause bloodshed and chaos. Politicians own media enterprises not because they want us to be happy; it is because they want to have power, he added. He urged the media to begin censoring and sanctioning politicians who used foul language on air, adding that that was one of the ways to stop the pollution of the airwaves with intemperate utterances. African Dictator agrees with this sentiment- if you take a look at the worst offenders, Rwanda, The Gambia, Eritrea and Ethiopia, you find that there is virtually no freedom of press, but the newspapers, radio and television stations are being used as propaganda tools. In those and other countries, it can be incredibly difficult for independent media organizations to register as businesses, including huge registration costs and painful bureaucratic procedures, and, when running, they face intimidation, arrests, fines and beatings by state security forces for deviating from acceptable themes. The Fourth Estate The fourth estate has always been regarded as something that should be kept separate from interference from either state or religious bodies, because when the state attempts to limit what the people need to know, the whole purpose of the media becomes void. Other members of the forum agreed, and offered suggestions as to how press freedom could be monitored and controlled, including ceding of state media operations to independent owners, and also managing media outlets which say offensive or inflammatory things. Senior journalists also called for a national communications policy in order to create a framework within which media operations work- Ghana has a lively media environment, but this is largely ungoverned. The suggestions reflected mature opinions from educated media practitioners, and could easily be applied across the continent, and would go a long way to improving press freedom, the lack of which is one of the chief indicators of an oppressive regime.