The media is a core component of our everyday life and every business or enterprise that seeks to go far wants to go with the media. The Ghanaian media and government have long been criticised for giving preferential treatment to foreigners while even denying their own people basic support.
Dr Azunre might have also not believed it but when he began doing projects in Ghana and expected support but got little to nothing, he decided to speak out by making a post on Facebook in a sharp dig at the Ghanaian media and the government for the neglect. He wanted results and he felt that was going to help him get the results.
In that post on Facebook after Ghana NLP announced its first major funding after they were part of the winners of the Motsepe Presidential Research Accelerator Fund for Africa, he called out the government and the media for neglecting them, though their work is geared towards improving the lives of the Ghanaian.
“Big News! After years of facing a pile of rejections, public apathy, getting flipped off by our own government, a media that refuses to support innovation instead of milking us for revenue (some unnamed media houses asked for 1000s of dollars to talk about our work – which is a service to the public) … Chale this brings tears to my eyes. Chale make I go weep somewhere,” he posted.
He was also quick to warn of what the future holds despite the continuous neglect from home. “If we got this far without any support, chale you ain’t ready for what is coming next,” Dr Azunre.
But speaking during the Big Discussion on the Active Morning Show on Friday, Dr Azunre noted that he was deliberate about it and he did it because when multinational companies come to the country, the media and government often open their hands wide to welcome them but close their arms against locals which to him was a thing that needed change.
“What I was trying to put across in that post is that the attention given to the innovation locally, the local innovation isn’t as much as say the attention given to foreign innovation,” he stated.
Giving an example he said, “we did Twi Google translate years ahead of Google. You know it was out there years ahead. Google just put out theirs and we’ve been trying to get the public to understand what we’ve done for people to start using the tool” but the support has been low though he added that “there has been a very nice[support]” and does not want “to discredit all and so all the people who have supported our work”.
He said the work they are doing is something they feel is very valuable to Ghanaians and they have volunteered and invested their resources but the media ask them for money to talk about the work whenever they want attention from the media.
“…this is something extremely valuable for the Ghanaian community. We are volunteers you know like everything that we’ve done, we have invested our own resources to make this happen, however, sometimes when we approach, not always, sometimes when we approach media houses to talk about this work, they ask for money to talk about it, ” adding, “I understand reasonable fees but there is also exorbitant. They ask for about thousands of dollars and stuff like that. For volunteers who are trying to improve society to have to pay thousands of dollars for the media to talk about the work that is supposed to inspire the youth it feels like counterproductive to what we are trying to do”.
“However, when a foreign giant comes like Google, everybody talks about it. Nobody gets paid to do it but they talk about it. So it seems we should be encouraging the local stuff [innovation],” he added.
The 2002 National Science and Maths Quiz champion added that many people have supported their work and he is very grateful to them while adding that the “Ghanaian media should focus on the youth are who doing exciting projects, exciting engineering projects. The kind of things that can inspire the next generation to move mountains to change the economy”.
If you want to see your language soon Khaya and to help preserve the Ghanaian culture and as well prepare the grounds for an all-inclusive digital world in the next few years where no Ghanaian regardless of the level of education is left out, if you want to speak to your friends in their local languages by easily learning it in a short period of time and if you want to support the walk to inspire the next generation, then support the work of Ghana NLP and their big project Khaya by downloading the app today. It is free on Google Playstore and App Store for Android and iOS users respectively.