30.01.2015 Gossips

Help! Journalist needed

By Prince Botwe
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Fundamentally, information plays a vital role in the day to day activities of man, hence the need for journalism. Ahuja (2008) defined journalism as the publication of the news and views about the various aspect of human activities in newspapers and periodical. Alternatively, McNair (1964) defined the concept as any authored text in written, visual and audio which is claimed to be a truthful statement about or records of some hither to unknown feature of the actual social world. The field of journalism however is governed by rules and regulation (canons) that some journalist of today have turned a blind eye to. Gone are the days when Ghana could boost of world class journalist such Kwaku Sekye Addo, Elizabeth Ohene affectionately known in the field as the iron journalist? The situation now is different from that of the aforementioned generations. Though the likes of Kwaku Barko, Anas Aremeyaw Anas and the new poster boy of journalism Manasseh Azure Awuni are trying to catch up with the former. Standards of today’s journalism is nothing to write home about as some people who claim to be journalist but have not gone through the rightful procedure before their employees employ them. Like the rule of kinship, many are employed simply because they can talk or lie to attract the attention of the audience. Journalism is practice with great reverence to truth and professionalism. It is the pursuit of the truth that the journalist come to build public confidence and empathy. Although, journalist cannot always guarantee the truth getting the fact right is the cardinal principle of every journalist. Kovach and Rosenstiel (2008) in their book “The element of journalism” believes that the truth is a sorting out process. Again, journalistic truth does not mean journalist reporting the correct names of place, events just to mention a few, but the publishing account must be substantially true. Journalistic news reporting must also be true and avoid misleading, misinforming or misinterpretation as it is been practice here in Ghana. If a journalist cannot corroborate an information we should not say so. I was surprise when some people who claim to be journalist reported that the body of Castro has been found which was not true. Quack journalism is on the rise in Ghana simply because such people did not receive journalist training but finds themselves in the field misleading and misinforming their audience. However, like the Bible puts it “by their fruit you shall know them|”. This is exactly the character of such quack journalist. They turn to be cynical rather than being skeptical in their day to day dealings of issues. Verification is very important in the field of journalism. Basically, there are always two sides to a story and as such a journalist must not take issue on the surface (gullible) by being in a hurry to broadcast or disseminate information, but rather must verify their fact right before diffusion can take place. Again, Kovach and Rosenstiel (2008) believes it is through the concept of verification that the journalist come to gain credibility. For an example, a newspaper like Daily Graphic has the trust of Ghanaians or their audience simply because they always verify their fact before any publication. One outrageous attitude of the modern day Ghanaian journalism is taking sides in the publication of stories. In actual fact, a journalist is supposed to be independent from non-citizen concerned factors or a journalist must not act, whether formally or informally on behalf of special interest such as media ownership. Advertisers influence, corporate and financial influence. They must strive to be fair and their coverage must be straightforward and objective not rather writing stories to favor their self-interest or slanted for friends. Speaking on the issue of impartiality. Journalism must also be independent in the monitoring of people. Citizens can know and defend the policies of the government when they get to know of what is trending in the government circles. The question then is how can a citizens defend the policies of his or her MP when he or she has no idea about it. Therefore journalist must be the voice for the voiceless but this is not the case as journalism today are interested in stories that will fetch them big monies. Playing the watch dog role is another function of the modern day journalist which cannot be divorced. Finding out about issue which cannot be gotten by mere searches or investigation are vital role played by journalist but less of such function are seen from the present day Ghanaian journalist which I confidently attribute it to

The high level of corruption in the present administration as a result of journalist neglecting their duties as watchdog of the government activities. In Ghana, the highest governing body of journalism is the Ghana Journalist Association that every journalist must identify his or herself with but one mind boggling issue has to do with the registration criteria. What do I need to be a member of GIJ? If they is no rule attach to registration then it means anybody at all can register and impose the name journalist on themselves which I believe has led to the increment of quack journalist in the system out marking and overshadowing the good once. I therefore call on the various communication institution in Ghana to step up their game in order to hoist the flag of Ghana high in the international circles just as veterans like Komla Dumour wrote their names in the Guinness book of records,


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