Journalists ought to weigh merits and demerits of their reports – Dr. Zacharia

A development and organisation policy analyst, Dr. Mawai Zakaria has cautioned journalists to be extra careful how they report on development projects.

Commenting on Joy News’ investigative report serializing grave financial malfeasance at the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) titled “Sad SADA Story”, which included wasteful travels and a murky investment deal of GH¢74.5 million /news/2014/April-8th/sada-cited-for-alleged-malfeasance-in-unapproved-trips.php , he warned that such reports culled mainly out of an “inconclusive” audit report could see a rather “great initiative” die. /news/2014/April-7th/sada-invests-gh745m-in-board-chairmans-bank-but.php

Speaking on Joy FM’s current affairs programme, Newsfile on Saturday, Dr Zacharia said he was convinced the report Joy News relied heavily on was just a draft which is yet to go through other processes.

“It has to be made clear that at this particular stage, factually it is a draft report,” he said, charging all and sundry to measure their comments with regards to projects such as SADA.

“We are sounding a word of caution to journalists and to all concerned that there is a corporate image that we need to protect as a country; and we need all to come together to support this great initiative, so that before we come out with any particular publication or anything about this particular great organisation, we need to weigh the benefits against the demerits,” Dr. Zacharia advised.

According to the development and policy analyst, launching into a draft report was “worrying” due to its potential of driving away investors as well as causing development partners to pull out.

He therefore pleaded with all, including management of SADA and journalists, to ensure that they are “guided by the principle of corporate identity, by the principle of ensuring that the organisation succeeds”.

Seasoned journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Malik Kweku Baako, who confessed to filing reports from drafted audit reports counselled, “If it is an interim report, then you have to use… but you got to use it with a lot of caution; if those replies to the queries have not been captured, you got to be very careful.”

Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu advised Joy News to “necessarily change your attitude of serialising incomplete audit report”.

The advice, according to him, was indispensable to avoid the tendency where news reports “damage reputation that cannot be repaired”. Story by Ghana | | Isaac Essel | [email protected]

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