Later, some bloggers picked up her words, made inferences and alleged that Sarkodie could be the musician she slept with. The BET Award-winning rapper didn’t take it lightly on Twitter on Monday evening. He went in on bloggers, threatening to set ‘examples’ for them.
“I think it’s about time we set some examples for these so-called blogs/websites to sit up ... Not been a fan of dragging issues but I figured it’s not only about me but the entire industry ... If I don’t, that means I endorse wrong acts,” he tweeted.
He went on to rant: “I will get out of my usual character for a second...the armed robber might have his or her reason to rob but that doesn’t make it right cos a lot have same reasons, but they chose tho [sic] work legitimately ... it’s your choice.”
“Just for likes clicks and comments y’all [sic] would break your integrity codes ... Ah well ...”
The “Can’t Let You Go” rapper ended his rant by giving himself a deadline: “This week”.
His rant was a clear-cut: that his best approach to dealing with fake news – a bane of the music and movie industry – is through threat. Mind you, the threat he issued is opened to so many interpretations; it could be a lawsuit or violence. Whichever option he would resort to lies in only his mind.
For the record, Sarkodie isn’t the first Ghanaian artiste to wage a war on bloggers. Controversial dancehall musician Shatta Wale has constantly threatened to assault bloggers over fake or sensationalised contents. Criss Waddle recently threatened to assault bloggers for not giving him the maximum publicity. Kwaw Kese, Efia Odo and Yvonne Nelson have also gone in on bloggers in the past.
The issue of fake news is a dicey one. Facebook – the most popular social media platforms in the world where fake news is rampant – has taken different approaches to the menace. From independent third-party fact-checkers to a significant drop in fake news blogs/websites and News Feed algorithm change, Facebook seems to be working hard against fake news. Facebook’s fight is yielding good results but there’s a lot more to it which Sarkodie is floundering to finger.
If he sues bloggers, what will show that fake news will end? Or if he assaults them, what will stop or dissuade others from publishing fake news?
Defamatory lawsuits (more connected to fake news) happen a lot in the world of show business. Many celebrities have taken on bloggers in the past over fake news and defamatory articles. Even as I write, Grammy winner Cardi B is suing bloggers, Starmarie and Tasha K, for defamation and is also seeking an injunction to delete 23 YouTube videos which claimed she’s a ‘prostitute with herpes’.
But what’s the guarantee that after suing bloggers, fake news will end? The answer is no. And it’s no for many reasons.
One of the biggest reasons is that the blogging industry isn’t controlled or structured. Unlike the traditional media where well-structured associations and bodies can interfere in one’s work, the blogosphere is a free world. Nobody is under control. This makes it easy for writers to cause harm without thinking about the consequences or apply journalistic ethics. Most of them haven’t even registered their blogs as businesses or have offices. They sit in their bedrooms to curate content and publish unverifiable news. If their blogs are banned on Facebook, they quickly buy a new domain name and fix it on the old blog content. So, this makes it extremely difficult to clamp down on bloggers who spread fake news.
However, there can be a different approach to the menace. Instead of going after bloggers, Sarkodie can tackle the issue humanly and with prudence. He has, on several occasions, been accused of distancing himself from the media. He has no relationship or whatsoever with the media – there’s a disconnect.
Myself, I have been chasing him for an interview for a year now. Most media men can bear out – it’s hard to reach out to Sarkodie to either confirm a news or have an interview. I am not sure that he will ever try to sue Ameyaw Debrah or NYDJ if they publish ‘fake news’. And I am not sure that Ameyaw and NYDJ will ever try to publish unverifiable reports about Sarkodie. Why? Because they have a relationship.
Relationship and communication matter a lot in showbiz, and they are powerful tools that can help Sarkodie fight fake news with ease. He should get close to the media or have a PR like Stonebwoy, Kwesi Arthur, M.anifest, Bisa Kdei, Fuse ODG, or others who have easy access to the media. In doing this, he can have a certain ‘control’ over his online content. He should find a way to clear that misconception about his relationship with the media. And trust me, it won’t cost him a dime. If this happens, I am not sure the increasing number of fake news about him will continue.