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19.06.2009 General News

Danish Ambassador chastises Ghanaian media for low standards

By Helena Selby ([email protected]) - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Stig Barlyng, has expressed disappointment in the basic journalistic skills of presenters and reporters in the country. According to him, their way of presentation was not impressive, since some of them are untrained or badly trained, and that they know very little about the issues they discuss.

Speaking at the launch of the Ghana Media Standard Improvement Project (GMSIP) in Accra yesterday, he noted that while more and better training was needed to improve the standard of the media, it is also important to be focused and selective in targeting media training, because the need was overwhelming.

He mentioned that while the media houses play a significant role in the political process, much was still left with regards to their roles as a public watch dog.

He emphasised that the political development, since returning to constitutional rule, including media liberalisation, had greatly enhanced the environment for the media.

He adored Ghana as the brightest shining star on the African continent, with regards to constitutionalism and political maturity.

According to him, the elections last December, and the subsequent change of government was a shining example.

He indicated that GMSIP, which forms the media sub-component of the current programme, would provide support for the development of investigative and analytical journalistic practice, in the print media and rural radio stations.

He said this would be done through capacity and commitment to professional journalistic principles.

“It is hoped that the support will enable the media play its watchdog role more effectively, and increase transparency through enhanced professional reporting,” he said. He explained that the media environment was free, but had problems with quality of reporting.

“Moreover the capacity to undertake investigative and analytical reporting is low and highly commercialised, and competitive media environment tends to nurse sensationalism,” he noted.

On his part, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Prof. Kwame Karikari, mentioned the unique role of the media in the promotion of democratic rule, and that democratic culture imposes on the media expectations and responsibilities for standards of performance that respond to the highest ideals of enlightenment and professionalism.

He pointed out that many radio stations and newspapers still struggle to make progress, and that some of the problems were genuine expressions of weak capacity, especially those that pursue partisan and sectarian agendas are deliberate and even averse to change, or doing things differently.

He said the aim of the GMSIP was to promote progress among those that desire to build higher professional standards, so that their contribution to the strengthening of democracy, peace and national unity would be maximised.

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