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15.07.2005 General News

Media In Accra Cautioned By Northern Counterparts

Radio Justice-Tamale (osmanu Dawda)

Journalists in the North have been advised to focus their reportage more on development potentials and issues in the area rather than on conflicts. The Northern regional Director of GBC, Mensah Nyarko was addressing selected media practitioners from Upper West, Upper East and the Northern regions after going through six-days workshop on Conflict reporting. The workshop, first of its kind to be organized and funded by the French Embassy for media practitioners in the north was supported by Tamale-based GBC Radio Savanna.

Addressing the participants during the closing ceremony, the GBC regional Director advised media practitioners in the north to place much priority on discussing and writing about education, sanitation, aforestation, women empowerment as well as girl-child education and not to always concentrate on chieftaincy conflicts to the detriment ! of the regions. He said this is the true way by which journalist can live up to the essence of their profession and ensure advancement of the socio-economic development of the people.

Mr Nyarko added that there is the need for journalists in the country to move away from reporting on what he termed, “he said she said” at functions that are attended especially by politicians, to investigating issues bothering on development of the people.

The facilitator of the workshop, Laurent Tastet advised journalists to always take time to crosscheck their facts before broadcasting or publishing them. He urged media practitioners to be cautious about their choice of words in order not to inflame passions, especially in reporting or discussing conflict issues. The France-based seasoned journalist cautioned journalists not to allow themselves to be used by politicians, but strive to be impartial in their reportage at all times.

The Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy, Francine Meyer pledged t! he embassy's preparedness to ensure that more of such programmes are organized to build the capacity of media practitioners in the North. The course prefect, Saaka Mohammed called on his colleagues to translate what they had learnt into practice.

The participants were taken through topics like Investigation, Information sourcing, story structure, interview techniques, house styles and peace reporting. They lamented over what they termed, a disservice to the north by the media especially those in Accra. They said anytime there was an incident in the North, media houses, especially in Accra portray horrible and chaotic scene of the north, which drove away potential investors to the regions. They said the north is already poverty-endemic therefore such stories about the area would do no good to her.

The media practitioners advised their southern counterparts to spare them doing what they described as “damage repairs all the time” to employ professional correspondents to report is! sues from the North.