THE MINISTER of Information and National Orientation, Hon. Oboshie Sai Cofie, has called on media practitioners to collectively stand firm against unjustifiable innuendoes and blatant insults that are creeping into journalism in the country.
According to her, the practice, which has found roots in our newspaper pages, air waves and web sites was not good for journalism, and practitioners could only halt the trend by demanding accuracy and veracity in their reportage.
The Information Minister made this known at the launch of a 24 hour news programme introduced by Choice FM, a local radio station based in Accra.
She urged journalists to renew their commitment to make sure that whatever they put out on the airwaves and newspapers is subjected to the strictest standards of authentication.
“To really achieve and re-affirm the ethics of the profession, news editors must play a pivotal role by ensuring the importance of the news in the information of diverse opinions of the citizenry”.
She revealed that her Ministry was working hard in consultation with stakeholders to speed up work on a draft broadcasting bill which is expected to be passed into law soon.
She also reminded media practitioners of the important role they are expected to play to ensure that this year's general elections are conducted in an atmosphere devoid of sensationalism and ethnic connotations.
“We believe that news is indeed a perfect barometer of change and that any effort to increase the avenues for Ghanaians to hear more about what is happening around them, and also to help inform our good judgment, is extremely welcome,” she stressed.
The General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Bright Blewu, emphasized the need for journalists to abide by the ethics of the profession.
He said there were so many things happening in both the political and economic front which put more work on the shoulders of the media.
“You must cross–check your facts well before coming out with a story, and also listen to the other party for its part of the story,” he said, adding, “Do not go for a one-sided story. Make sure you get a two sided story and if possible the neutral person involved.”
The General Manager of Choice FM, Adisa Lansah, stated that the 24 hour news programme was part of efforts to re-schedule their programmes for the year.
According to her, the aim was to provide Ghanaians with latest information on issues happening locally and around the world.
She urged the station to go the extra mile to report factual news, and be unbiased in their reportage.
She also revealed that plans were being made for the news to be given in local languages soon.
“Choice FM has decided to join the enviable and respectable class of 24-hour news service providers and we would make sure listeners do not get bored with the news as well,” she noted.
By Linda Tenyah and Joss Haynes