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11.07.2005 General News

Negative reporting aggravates conflict situations - Meyer


Tamale, July 11, GNA - Mad Francine Meyer, Cultural Attach=E9 at the French Embassy, has reminded journalists that peace is always possible in any conflict situation depending on the way events are reported. She said negative reporting has the consequences of aggravating conflict situations and urged the media to be wary of people who would want to use them to propagate their parochial interests.

Mad Meyer said this at the closing session of a six-day conflict-reporting workshop organized for journalists and radio presenters from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions on Sunday.

The French Embassy in Ghana organized it to provide the journalists with skills to mitigate conflict situations through effective use of the radio to unite the people and encourage them to channel their energies and resources towards development.

The journalists treated topics on: "basic techniques on conflict reporting, how to moderate debates and phone-in-programmes, updating and upgrading of stories, sources of information, news structuring, interview techniques and investigative journalism".

Mad Meyer said the embassy organized the workshop due to some pockets of chieftaincy, religious and land conflict situations in the north that had resulted in the lost of life and property.

She said it had come to the notice of the embassy that most workshops on conflict were organized for journalists in Accra who depended on their colleagues in the north for reports and described the practice as unproductive.

"In Ghana when you are talking about conflicts then it is the north and therefore journalists who are on the ground must be given good training to report events accurately".

Mr Laurent Tastet, a freelance journalists from France who was the resource person, appealed to journalists to always go into the route causes of conflicts rather than rushing to report on casualties. Mr Mensah Nyarkoh, the Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), said issues that cause deprivation and under development should be of great concern to journalists.

He appealed to journalists, especially those in the northern regions, to focus their attention on health, education, agriculture and environmental issues.

Mr Saaka Mohammed, a journalist with the GBC, said the three northern regions are among the poorest in the country and journalists in these areas are lacking skills to help encourage the people to shun conflicts and to undertake development projects.

He appealed to the French Embassy to continue to organize more of such forums especially in development journalism and feature writing.