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04.02.2010 General News

GJA Refers Conduct Of Ato Sam To Ethics Council

By Daily Graphic
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The National Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has referred the conduct of Mr Ato Sam to the Ethics and Disciplinary Council for investigation and advice.

The GJA said it had taken note of the interview Mr Sam, also known as Baby Ansaba, granted a number of radio stations, including Joy FM, in which he claimed that stories about the then candidate John Atta Mills which he published during the electioneering were fabrications aimed at relegating the chances of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate in the December 2008 polls.

A statement signed by the GJA President, Mr Ransford Tetteh, said the GJA was saddened by the behaviour of Mr Sam, Editor of the New Punch newspaper, because the fabrication of stories was clearly against the code of ethics of the profession.

“The Association unreservedly condemns the selfish, unprofessional and no-conscience, pervasive journalism of Mr Ato Sam and others who may be indulging in such unhealthy practices and believes that the enabling environment created by the 1992 Constitution for freedom of expression also demands a certain responsibility from media practitioners,” it said.

The statement said Article One of the GJA Code of Ethics provided that “the duty of every journalist is to report the truth. It said the same Article One provided that “ the public has the right to unbiased, accurate and balanced information”.

It said Mr Sam’s behaviour had created serious integrity challenges for himself as he failed to heed Article Three of the code, which says “journalists should not accept bribe or any form of inducement in the performance of their duties”.

It said the unprofessional conduct of Mr Sam in an election year was also an infringement of the GJA Election Guidelines, which are expected to guide media houses in their reportage during the election year.

The statement said Guideline Five required the media to provide accurate, truthful and non-derogatory information about political parties and candidates as a way of providing the electorate with a fair means of assessing candidates and political parties.

It said Guideline Three further stipulated that “journalists must crosscheck every bit of information and must be fair to all sides and they shall not report hearsay as facts”.

It said the 10th guideline enjoined journalists to avoid all actions that could compromise their integrity.

It recalled that the association had previously cautioned Baby Ansaba on the need to safeguard his professional integrity following investigations into another unprofessional conduct.

The statement noted that the Executive would also be recommending to the forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) to” institute the Order of Vulture award as a means of naming and shaming such unprofessional behaviour during the annual awards ceremony, where excellence will also be acknowledged.”

The National Executive could only take disciplinary action against members of the GJA on the advice of the Ethics and Disciplinary Council.

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