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17.11.2005 General News

Media urged to use 'power' responsibly

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Cape Coast, Nov.17, GNA - Professor Domwin Kuupole, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), on Wednesday urged media practitioners to use their 'power' responsibly, to promote peace, unity and reconciliation in the country.

He said handling thorny and volatile issues such as chieftaincy and ethnicity, required "professionalism and maturity", but regretted that most journalists had proven that they lacked these qualities and rather "poked a fire of tension, animosity and tribalism."

Professor Kuupole was addressing media practitioners in the Central Region at a day's seminar on "Challenges of the Media in the Promotion of Human Rights and Good Governance-Reflections on the report of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC)" at Cape Coast. The seminar, is being organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and KAB Governance Consult, for practitioners nationwide, to draw attention to reported negative activities by the media on the NRC report and efforts to address them.

Prof. Kuupole, pointed out that the country had reached a "crucial stage" in her national life and development agenda, where partisan politics should rather be used to foster unity, good governance and human rights rather than hate and propaganda attacks on personalities. "I think journalists should use the media, and their expertise as well as their collective efforts to launch a crusade against divisive politics and disunity," He declared.

"The practice where some journalists and media houses hide behind political inclinations, parties and individuals to attack and trade insults on others must stop."

He called on media personnel to initiate discussions that would rather offer solutions to the numerous socio-economic and political problems facing the natio n, to enhance the democratic process and overall development.

Prof. Kuupole said media practitioners should make governments accountable and responsible to the citizenry and ensured that human rights abuses were curtailed, and stop "defending and protecting the rights" of po liticians, or other 'big wigs' at the expense of the people.

He however, acknowledged that the media was poorly resourced and urged the government to take steps to address the situation. Ms Adjoa Yeboah-Afari, President of the GJA was appalled by some media practitioners who had contributed to the promotion of bad governance and shielded personalities who engaged in human rights violations in past regimes and urged journalists to be bold and refrain from such negative acts.

Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, Editor of the 'Daily Graphic' and Dr Bonnah Koomson, Chairman of the Ethics and Disciplinary Council of the GJA, both resource persons, called on the participants to adhere to the ethics of the profession and endeavour to be factual and objective in their reportage.

Mr. Ebo Sackey, Central Regional Chairman of the GJA observed that since the media fed the minds of the people, it was imperative that it ensured that the right information was disseminated.

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