25.05.2004 General News

Chris Asher launches "Original Palaver"

25.05.2004 LISTEN

Accra, May 25, GNA - A veteran journalist, Mr Chris Asher Sr., on Tuesday cautioned journalists not to abuse the new lease of press freedom in Ghana to bring the image of public officials into disrepute.

He said, "freedom of the press connotes a high sense of responsibility, and any media which does not adhere to the principles of that responsibility has no right to exist".

Speaking at the re-launching of the "The Original Palaver" that was first published in 1968 under the name, "Palaver", Mr Asher Sr. deplored the current situation in which every person was allowed to operate a media without a corresponding adherence to the ethics and principles of journalism.

At the International Press Centre in Accra, Mr J G Amamoo, former diplomat and a journalist launched a 16-page weekly newspaper to be sold under a cover price of 2,000 cedis.

The paper, which was first banned by the People's National Defence Council (PNDC) Government in 1991, would cover general news reports within Ghana and around the world, to enhance national development.

Mr Asher Sr. who is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, said the greatest danger posed to freedom of the media in Ghana today was the danger of pseudo journalists who used the print and the electronic media to incite hatred, disunity and violence against fellow Ghanaians.

He therefore, called on the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which liberalized the media from subjugation, to review the situation as soon as possible, "or the Original Palaver will wage war against those who have brought the honourable profession of journalism from grace to grass".

He said the NPP government should also promulgate laws that would compel some journalists to respect the privacy of individuals. Laws that would curb the propensity of self-styled journalists and expunge the mediocrity of journalism that appeared to be the order of the day. He described as the worst type of journalism, that which rushed to press, television screens and airwaves with false news items only to retract and apologize for inaccurate, dishonest, indecent and irresponsible dissemination of news.

Mr Asher said his paper had come to join in the struggle for true democracy, and that it would criticise the government should it go back on its promises of accountability, probity and transparency.

In attendance at the launching were representatives of the French and Zimbabwe Embassies, who purchased the first and second copies of the newspaper for 70,000 cedis and 85,000 cedis respectively. 25 May, 04

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