Journalists must show independence of political influences

By
D.I. Laary, GNA

Accra, Sept. 18, GNA
– Journalists have been told to abide by their moral and professional
obligations by demonstrating that they are independent of government,
individuals and political influences in order to maintain public confidence and
trust in the profession.

Dr Wilberforce
Sefakor Dzisah, Rector of Ghana Institute of Journalism, gave the advice at the
10th congregation of the Institute where 690 students graduated.

Two hundred and
thirty were awarded diploma 460 with degree certificates.

“As media educators
and trainers, we are concerned about the quality of reportage,” he said.

He expressed
confidence that reporters could live up to their ethical responsibilities and
report accurately and objectively on matters bordering the country.

He said: “We
recognise the crucial role the media play in our day-to-day existence on this
earth.”

“As the watchdog for
society, the media has an onerous responsibility to ensure that the country
remains in one piece before, during and beyond the December 7, 2016 elections.”

He noted that though
the quality of reportage is of concern to media educators and trainers: “We are
equally confident that our media professionals would live up to their
fundamental responsibility of upholding ethical principles by providing the
country with undiluted coverage of all matters relating to the elections in a
democratic and objective manner.”

Dr Dzisah, who also
chairs the Ghana News Agency Board said for the media to retain the trust of
the people on whose behalf they exercise their “fourth power” function, then
journalists ought to recreate and refine their operations to remain, what he
called “the guiding light of our people”.

“After all, the
media has a responsibility to be answerable to society. We cannot claim to be
the mirror of society if our reports are slanted, jaundiced and tainted with
the very ills for which we berate others and try to hang them.”

“Media
accountability must be both horizontal and vertical if our society is to make
informed choices at the polls and beyond it.”

The theme for the
congregation was: “Media responsibility and democratic elections.”

Mr Eugene
Baffoe-Bonne, Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority,
highlighted the professional and personal responsibilities and influence of the
media in democratic elections.

He said it is
imperative for the media to disseminate accurate information and provide
coverage that voters need concerning the political parties and the policies
that they promote.

“The information
that the media lays to the public during elections can potentially have a
profound impact on voters decision-making as well as the election outcome.”

“Therefore, what is
communicated by the media to the public should be done from a perspective of
being unbiased,” he said.

GNA

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