The Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), on Saturday held its first congregation, with calls on the government and the media to work together to promote human welfare and dignity.
The occasion, which also marked the Institute’s 47th graduation, had the theme, 'A government without a media or a media without a government.'
Established on October 16, 1959, GIJ attained the status of a university by an Act of Parliament (Act 717), passed in September, last year, which also necessitated its transfer from the Ministry of Information and National Orientation to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports.
Vice-President Aliu Mahama, in a speech read on his behalf, said, the government and the media are not enemies and never should they be enemies in any society, adding that both have one aim which is the betterment of society.
'The government is not a law onto itself. It’s powers are derived from the same source which is the constitution, which also guarantees freedom of the press,' said Alhaji Mahama, adding, if it does the wrong thing, it must be criticised and be commended when it does something right.
He said if the press refuses to be objective and rather specialises in spreading falsehood with professional zeal and competence, the people would lose confidence not only in the government, but also in governance as a whole, which could lead to anarchy.
Underscoring the government’s belief in press freedom, he said, the government will, within the constraints of the economy, strive to provide the Institute with more facilities for the construction of its new site to enable it to train more students.
The Vice-President Aliu Mahama said now that the GIJ has been upgraded to a tertiary institution, it was expected to train people to meet the very high standards in journalism and urged the Institute to introduce new and innovative courses to meet the demands of time.
Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Education, Science and Sports, also in a speech read on his behalf, stressed the need for a government-media partnership for national development, saying, having endured a liberal environment for the practice of the profession, the press have a responsibility to attain the high standards expected of the profession.
Mr. Kweku Rockson, acting Rector of the Institute, said the institute has embarked on a number of projects, including purchase of books and journals worth millions of cedis, the automation of the library, the renovation of the Audio Visual Unit, with facilities for transmission of the GIJ closed circuit television.
He said the GIJ was currently conducting a research study on ethical reportage of political parties in Ghanaian newspapers, the aim being to contribute to strengthening democracy and the rights of political parties besides ensuring professionalism in media reportage on political issues.
A total of 118 students graduated and were presented with the Institute’s diploma.
Philip Acquaye received the overall best student award while the best professional student award went to Eric Dagadu.