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Ghana

Journalists advised against manipulation by politicians

By
Justina Paaga, GNA

Takoradi, Dec. 4,
GNA – The Managing Editor of Ghana Business News, Mr Emmanuel Dogbevi, has
urged journalists not to allow politicians and individuals to use them for
their parochial interest.

He reminded
journalists of their major role to serve and protect public interest and not
yield to “parochial interest” of politicians and their political parties.

Mr Dogbevi, who is
also the Executive Director of NewBridge Africa, made the call at a two-day
capacity building workshop for journalists in Western Region on conflict
sensitive reporting for peace and democracy in Ghana.

It was organized by
the National Peace Council with funding from the Danish International
Development Agency (DANIDA) to sharpen knowledge and skills of journalists.

It is to ensure
responsible conflict reporting and peace building ahead of Ghana’s district
level elections scheduled on December 17, 2019 and the December 2020
presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mr Dogbevi told
reporters to see journalism as a professional job and abide by its ethics by
doing independent work without allowing themselves to be manipulated by
politicians.

The participants
were advised to stick to the basic principles of journalism and ensure truth,
accuracy, objectivity and speed in their reportage.

They were also
cautioned not to sacrifice accuracy in their haste to be the first to break the
news or come up with scoops.

Mr Dogbevi asked the
reporters to always endeavour to cross-check and verify their facts, clear all
doubts and make sure they published factual and accurate information.

He pointed out that
it was unethical and unprofessional for journalists to report on rumours and
speculations on social media without first crosschecking   their facts.

This would guarantee
and maintain credibility of reporters and their media houses.

To ensure
originality and accuracy of news reports, Mr Dogbevi said it was equally
important for journalists to use reliable and authentic sources.

Mr Francis Kokutse
of the Associate Press (AP), who took reporters through peace Journalism, said
it was time journalists moved away from political reporting to development
journalism by writing stories that impacted positively on people’s daily lives.

He said it was
imperative to stop media propaganda and the use of intemperate language in
election year to help reduce political violence linked to elections.

Reverend John Ernest
Kwofie, the Western Regional Chairman of the National Peace Council, commended
Ghanaian journalists for not fuelling major conflicts in the country over the
years.

However, he
expressed concern about the increasing ownership and use of the media space by
politicians to promote their selfish interest which he said posed a major
threat to peace in Ghana.

He said the role of
the media in ensuring peacebuilding was very important, and noted: “One
careless word or inaccurate detail could ignite a conflict while one clear,
balanced report could help defuse tensions and neutralize fear.”

He added that the
media has a powerful influence on how people viewed the world, saying: “A
reporter’s story on conflict could be the sole information available to the
audience.”

“How the reporter
frames the conflict could prejudice the audience in favour of one party, it
could fuel conflict, intensify conflict or cool down the conflict.”

For instance, he
said: “In Rwanda it is on record that radio  was used to lay the groundwork for the
genocide, while in Serbia, television was manipulated to stir ethnic tensions
prior to civil war and in the  Soviet
Republic of Georgia, territorial disputes were exacerbated by the propaganda of
nationalist mythology in the media”.

He called for
concerted efforts to build and strengthen the capacity of local media to report
professionally on conflict sensitive issues and early warning signals ahead of
elections.

The journalists were
taken through topics such as basic principles of journalism, reporting peace,
communication skills, storytelling skills, news reporting skills and social
media journalists.

GNA

Themes
ICO