IBM&J Director Calls For Restraint On Airwaves

The Director of the Institute of Business Management & Journalism (IBM&J), Mr. P.F Owusu has called on the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to vet all journalists who wish to practice in the country to bring sanity into the noble inky profession.

Similarly, Mr. Owusu, whose institute runs journalism and other communication disciplines, also pleaded with the Ghana Education Service (GES) to stop giving certificates to unaccredited tertiary colleges to operate as journalism institutions and to sanction such institutions that use their names as a cover up. He made these known in statement issued and copied to The Chronicle in Accra.

The Kumasi-based IBM&J Director noted: ‘The media of late has been going wayward on the way we comment on public issues and reckless in their reportage on many cases and issues’.

It is time for us to exercise restraint and begin to appreciate that ‘Freedom of Speech’ does not give you the licence to be insulting, abusive, arrogant and rude in whatever you say, Mr. Owusu told media practitioners.

‘The media must be advocated and insisted on responsible journalism as the best guarantee for free press. Its duty is to preserve the unity and peace of the nation through an unbiased coverage of any proceedings in a manner that does not make the media judges in a matter that can only be determined by courts, responsible people and institutions.

Such institutions, organisations and courts should be allowed to perform their duties without any threats and intimidation from the electronic or print media’.

Besides, the media should not allow its platforms to be used by politicians and unprofessional people to generate tension, false allegation and chaos in the country.

It is now time to avoid the serial callers and those who phone into programmes and allowing unprofessional media practitioners and ignorant callers to share their views on topics they know nothing about, Mr. Owusu stated.

Explaining: ‘Such telephone calls must be cut off if their contributions are insulting. More media professionals should be employed and paid by the media owners to avoid court cases such as defamation and unfounded allegations.’

Touching on the election petition hearing which final judgement is expected on 29 th of this month, 2013, Mr. Owusu congratulated the nine judges of the Supreme Court for the good work done,  particularly for the live coverage, which has helped Ghanaians to ease anxieties, open transparency, kill propaganda and misinformation.

He was quick to add: ‘It has also enabled most Ghanaians to follow the proceedings at the court and educate us on how judges operate, cross-examine and to clear some points during the proceedings’.

On contempt, Mr. Owusu says the contempt of court, to him, is seen as any act of omission or commission intended to undermine the administration of justice. It could be committed inside or outside the court by deed or by words, statements to abuse the court which tend to expose it to hatred or ridicule; it could be criminal or civil.

‘To me, the Supreme Court’s case on the election has created immense awareness to everybody to bring sanity into our young and old politicians to respect the law, judiciary and the people, so that the loose talks and unfounded allegations to win political points would stop. ‘

‘It must be noted that the truth is not a defence to a contempt of court; if the court feels the language used is offensive, the judge will determine what punishment should be given; whether a verbal warning, signing of a bond to be of good behaviour or imprisonment’, Mr Owusu explained.

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