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27.10.2005 General News

Minister cautions media about sensationalism

Minister cautions media about sensationalism
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Accra, Oct. 27, GNA - Mr Dan Botwe, Minister of Information, on Thursday described as very troubling, the propensity of journalists to disregard the basic principle of their profession that the accuracy of all stories must be checked before publication. "Of late, some of our media colleagues seem to have the penchant of picking up news items from the Internet and giving them wide publicity without any effort to first check their authenticity," he said. Mr Botwe made the observation during an interaction with journalists in Accra, after issuing a press statement, which catalogued a number of misinformation against the Government. It comprised stories on the per diem President John Agyekum Kufuor received anytime he travelled outside Ghana and the 250,000 dollars he allegedly gave to Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, Leader of the Movement For Democratic Change, to facilitate the activities of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe. "In most cases these stories have turned out to be false whereas simple check with the authorities would have set the record straight and saved all concerned the embarrassment as well as the unnecessary tensions that they generate in society." The Minster said the only way journalists could earn respect in the society and maintain the high integrity of their profession is for them to adhere to the ethics of their profession by going the extra mile to crosscheck their facts. Mr Botwe said the Auditor-General had rejected as untrue the story placed on Ghanaweb that the President collects 3,000 dollars as per diem. He said some media houses also picked an unsubstantiated story from Ghanaweb (discussion forum -SIL)naming eight Ministers of State to be among the 10 richest people in Ghana. "Rushing to publish or broadcast news that we are unable to verify but, which serve to inflame passions in society does not help anybody. It definitely does not aid the cause of press freedom or the nurturing of the democracy that we all cherish so dearly," he said. Mr Botwe said the Ministry was ready to assist any journalist who wanted to make enquiries about the Government. "This way truth and trust will be maintained at all times and society will be the better of," he said.