Instrument to monitor media ethical violations developed

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has developed an instrument to monitor the incidence of ethical violations in selected media organisations in the country.

The monitoring will cover 25 radio stations, 10 newspapers and five online news websites.

The MFWA last Wednesday organised a stakeholders’ meeting to validate the Media Ethics Monitoring Instrument that seeks to monitor ethical standards of media organisations in the country. Presentation

Presenting a draft of the instrument, Professor Kwame Karikari of the School of Communications Studies, University of Ghana, Legon explained that the project would  on day-to-day basis monitor to what extent the Ghanaian media observed the ethical principles, norms, values and standards of the journalism profession.

He said monthly reports would be produced and discussed by experts to help highlight the incidents of violations and recommend ways of avoiding such infractions.

“The objective for this component of the project is to help promote professional standards among the target media in particular and the Ghanaian media in general,” Professor Karikari explained. What to monitor

He said the monitors would be trained and guided to understand properly and identify accurately any violations of particular ethical principles by the media.

Areas to be monitored in the newspapers include news, features/columns/news features/opinions/letters to editors; editorials, headlines, photographs and illustrations.

For the radio stations, the monitors will be looking at news, talk shows, panel discussions and call-in segments, as well as documentaries and advertisements.

Television stations are not covered in the monitoring because of the difficulties involved in recording the programmes. Ethical principles

Professor Karikari, who is the Founder and former Executive Director of the MFWA, outlined the ethical principles to be monitored as accuracy of the news item, fairness, balance, impartiality, and facts/opinions, as well as headlines.

Other areas to be monitored include decency of reportage, media reports that are offensive to good taste and public sensibilities, regard for privacy and protection of minors, as well as protection of victims of sexual crimes.

The rest are sensitivity to persons in grief or distress, prejudice and stereotyping; the nature of photography, pictures and images, as well as public interest values. Purpose of the meeting

Welcoming the participants, the Executive Director of the MFWA, Mr Sulemana Braimah, said the purpose of the meeting was to look at the instrument that had been developed.

He said the monitoring would begin from May 1, 2014 to November 30, 2014.

Writer’s Email: severious.dery[email protected]

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