Accra, 8, Oct., GNA - Journalists have been warned against the tendency to fan socio-political conflicts in their zeal to sensationalize their stories "in the name of scoops." "While informing, educating and entertaining society, journalists must warn of dangers ahead but must guard against tilting the scale of national equilibrium," Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Deputy Minister for Information, said in Accra on Friday.
The Deputy Minister who was inaugurating the Communicators Club of the African Institute of Journalism and Communication's (AIJC), reminded journalists that by the ethics of their profession, they were required as gate-keepers, to be neutral in their presentation of facts.
"The abiding principle guiding any reportage should be the promotion of national stability", she said Ms Botchwey said although the government had promoted freedom of speech to ensure that journalists were given an open field, "the freedom to publish and be damned comes with a responsibility".
She said the printed or spoken word could build or destroy depending on the content of the message.
The Deputy Minister observed that a journalist worth his training and experience would not publish the raw message just because he must do his work.
"He should consider the impact the report would have on the people receiving it and whether it would engender peace, harmony and national progress."
She urged journalists never to forget their responsibilities under the development media theory that exhorted them to be vehicles of nation building.
Ms. Botchwey stated that since it was necessary for Ghana to embrace Information and Communications Technology in order to move with the emerging information society, government was committed to deploying ICT within the economy.
She said it was in this regard that the Ministry of Information had come out with a Development Communication Policy (DevCom), which aimed at effective communication; crucial for the implementation of government policies and programmes.
"According to the policy, the commitment to democratic government calls for the adoption of a form of information communication in the country which decentralizes the information system by the public sector" she said.
Mr. Christian Dziwornu, President of the club said the Institute sought to be a creative leader in training communication professionals to support socio-economic development and therefore the need to form such a club.
He said communicators should go beyond the routine of gathering and disseminating information by educating the public to influence attitudes and opinions.