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21.06.2005 General News

Journalists urged to live up to values of society


Accra, June 21, GNA - A weeklong Pan African Refresher course for Catholic Media Practitioners opened on Monday in Accra with a call on Journalists to live up to the moral values of society in order to contribute to the development of the country and Africa as a whole.

Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister, who opened the programme, expressed concern about the professional credibility of Journalism in the country, saying Journalism was losing credibility in Ghana. The programme the first of its kind brought together about 150 Journalists from all over the world under the theme: "Journalism in Africa, Achievement, Challenges and Scopes."

Participants would discuss: "Journalism in Africa", "Threat to Freedom of Expression in Africa", "The African Journalist and the Promotion of Economic Growth and Political Stability on the Continent" and "Slavery in Africa and its Global Effect". The International Catholic Union of the Press (UCIP) and the African Catholic Union of the Press (UCAP) sponsored the course being organised by the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners - Ghana (CAMP-G) and Department of Social Communications of National Catholic Secretariat.

Mr Mensah said Journalism reflected, mirrored and led society but that leading did not entitle Journalists to invent facts. He expressed the hope that the refresher course would help to instil some degree of moral discipline in Journalists to have respect for the public in their reportage.

Mr Mensah said the invention of stories or facts, in addition to hurtful behaviours, turned to poison the society thereby killing its moral fabric and creating instability in the society. The Most Rev. Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, urged Journalists not to despair even in the thick of challenges.

He said the role of the African Christian Communicator was to contribute to the light of the world and the salt of the earth. He said for a Continent that suffered from poverty, killer diseases such as malaria and HIV|AIDS and economic injustice it was the duty of the Journalist to be in the forefront of the struggle for change. "The urgent need for a new vision to enable our Continent to defeat those deplorable conditions cannot be over emphasised," he said, adding that Africa needed to take inventory of what it had for the purpose of making sure that all of the people were able to get very basic needs. He told African participants that since the Continent was lagging behind in terms of the development of the media, the situation put a lot of pressure on their responsibility to develop a more efficient and effective media system.

"Through your professionalism, honesty and dedication to the cause of truth you can make significant contribution to this Continent's development process." The Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle appealed to Catholic Journalists to maintain credibility by being consistent in presenting balanced, honest and fair reports. He said the issue now was not what the Church could do for the Catholic Journalist but rather what the Catholic Journalist could do for the Church.

Dr Ismar de Oliiveira Soares, President of UCIP, lauded Ghana's hospitality saying it was for the country's exemplary nature that the organisers of the course chose Ghana to host the programme. He said to include Africa on the agenda setting or to forget the Continent was an ongoing discussion among Journalists. He said UCIP'S training programmes always pursued new awareness and announced that another refresher programme - African-American Programme - would be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil from October 10 to October 15.