Respect Ethics Of Media Practice - Kabral
5/5/2012 9:31:16 AM -
Ransford Tetteh - GJA President The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, has urged media owners, practitioners and users to appreciate the significance of democracy and free press and respect the ethics of media practice to promote and prosecute a good and responsible media.
He said it was important for all those who used the media platform to know that verbal abuse and hate speeches could plunge the country into “an inferno that will burn all of us, as has happened in other parts of Africa”.
He, therefore, charged professional bodies and associations such as the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association to put in place self-regulatory measures to ensure sanity and professional standards in the media.
Speaking at the launch of a newspaper in Accra, the US News, Mr Blay-Amihere said although the NMC did not have biting powers, “the absence of sanctions should not constitute a licence for the abuse of press freedom, free expression or the basis for bad press”, adding that just because the Constitution allowed so much freedom did not mean that “freedom should be abused by practitioners, social
commentators and serial callers”.
US (Unique Shepherd) News, which adds to the about 1,500 newspapers and magazines in the country, is published by an indigenous firm, the US Group of Companies, and will be circulated free across the country through network marketing.
Mr Blay-Amihere said it was equally important for political parties and their agents to show greater restraint and responsibility when they spoke on the airwaves.
He said in the last two years alone, the NMC, together with other professional bodies, had engaged with the media to stress the need to protect and defend the media freedom that the country enjoyed through the display of media responsibility.
“We have stressed the need for self-regulation within media houses and questioned other stakeholders to respect our cultural and social values which enjoin all of us to show decency and decorum, even when we disagree. We have alerted all of us to the consequences of freedom for journalists in particular when their work crosses into the zone of irresponsibility,” he said.
The NMC, he said, had also, on several occasions, warned the generality of those who used media platforms of the danger they posed to the nation with abusive language and hate speeches.
He appealed to the government and Parliament to pass the Broadcasting Bill which provided greater opportunity for better regulation of the airwaves into law, since the bill had a set of measures that could be used to regulate broadcasting in a fair and transparent manner.
The President of the GJA, Mr Ransford Tetteh, who chaired the launch, called for the support of the public to maintain the peace and freedom the country enjoyed, saying, “We should not take the peace and stability for granted.”
Mr Tetteh, who is also the Editor of the country’s most widely circulated and read newspaper, the Daily Graphic, said although the Constitution guaranteed free expression, that freedom went with responsibilities and limitations.
He called on the media not to encourage any form of irresponsibility, since they would be the first casualties should the Constitution be set aside or freedoms curtailed.
The Executive Chairman of the US Group, Chief Godfred Mediciné, said he was motivated to start the newspaper not necessarily for the profit but a crave to re-focus attention on some of the critical issues that plagued the country.
He said the media landscape was dominated by politics, leading to a neglect of some of the important issues which confronted Ghanaians but which US News would be interested in highlighting.
Chief Mediciné pledged the commitment of the paper to “uphold the high ethical standards of journalism in the country and publish only factual and verifiable stories at all times. This is to say that this newspaper will not engage in acts that will bring the noble profession into disrepute”.