Over twenty (20) media practitioners have undergone a three-day training programme in accurate statistical reporting, in Accra last week on the theme “Statistical Literacy for the Media”.
The training, which was jointly organized by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), aimed at building the capacity of the media to correctly interpret statistical information in their reportage.
Other objectives were: educating media men and women on definitions and concepts behind the statistical information they use and also train participants on how to correctly interpret figures, tables and charts.
Participants were drawn from the Media in Communication and Advocacy Network (MCAN), and other journalists from media organizations including: Modern Ghana web; GBC Radio; GTV; Graphic; Ghanaian Times; Information Services Department; Radio Universe; The Catholic Standard and TV3 Network.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the training, the Program Analyst of the UNFPA, Mr. Ben Treveh, said the training was necessary because over the years, facts and figures have been twisted by journalists “wilfully or ignorantly” in reporting issues relating to statistics.
According to him, lack of information and knowledge in statistics lead to partial information and misinformation on the part of the media, thereby, “confusing or misleading” the general public.
He stressed that some media organizations or journalists wilfully misinform the public in during statistical reporting for their personal gain, or the gain of the organization they are working for.
“Let us [the GSS, UNFPA and media practitioners] come to an agreement. Make your news alright, but do not compromise the meaning of the statistics. Tell stories the way they are with accuracy and still sell your paper,” Mr. Treveh appealed.
The UNFPA Program Analyst hinted that the training would be organized periodically to ensure that the training’s ultimate aim of building the capacity of journalists is achieved.
The Director for Training and Programme Management, Mr. Sylvester Gyamfi, said statistics were relevant in advising government, politicians, planners, policy makers and researchers et cetera at all levels, in planning for the people or population.
He maintained that statistics were used as indicators in tracking agencies, such as the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) and others for effective monitoring.
Mr. Gyamfi stated other uses of statistics including gender statistics used for monitoring and addressing gender issues and also for monitoring decentralization concepts which requires data at the districts for planning.
The Training Director was hopeful that the training would go a long way to educate and inform journalists for effective reporting on statistical reports.
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