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10.12.2005 General News

Journalists urged to be guided by principles of factual reporting

By GNA
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Accra, Dec. 10, GNA - Mr. Daniel Kwaku Botwe, Minister of Information at the weekend urged journalists to be guided by the principles of factual reporting, cross-checking all information to ensure balanced reportage at all times. He said there was an urgent need for journalists and institutions that train them to respond to recent challenges about concerns raised about the questionable standards of journalism on the media landscape.

Mr Botwe, speaking at the fifth matriculation ceremony of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, said "Journalists should at all times be guided by the code of ethics of their profession as spelt out by the Ghana Journalists Association." He noted that complaints have been made about inaccuracy of reports, defamation of character, often without factual basis, politicisation of issues and the use of intemperate language. Citing recent media reports about a Member of Parliament's involvement in the heroin case, Mr Botwe said the issue required thorough investigation, considering its sensitivity and lamented about the false reportage in the local media.

The Information Minister cautioned that the repeal of the criminal libel law did not absolve journalists of responsibility in cases of defamation, as they could be held answerable under civil libel. "In addition to the truth as the cornerstone of responsible journalism, objectivity, balance, accuracy and fairness should be upheld at all times in your practice," The Minister said.

Professor Charles Tagoe, Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, reiterated the need for journalists to practice guided by the ethics. He said the profession should be practiced in such a way that it would not afford non-professionals the chance to question it. "It is more honourable for our media personnel to proceed with their business in honesty, truth and trust. It is only by these that your profession can be perceived the way that would make you professionals as well as the entire society proud," Prof. Tagoe said.

Mr David Newton, Director of the Institute, commended the government for the decision to move the Institute from the Information Ministry to the Ministry of Education and Sports, saying it would enable the school to admit more students and get more qualified full time lecturers. Mr Newton advised students to take advantage of the opportunities available at the institute and study hard to earn enviable positions in their profession.

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