Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Saturday urged journalists to use their indispensable influence and power to fight for peace, unity and justice rather than engaging in fruitless and trivial issues in society.
“As journalists, you are an indispensable instrument of influence and power and therefore have the responsibility to be credible and accurate in whatever you churn out to the people outside there.”
Vice President Mahama said these when he addressed the 15th Ghana Journalists Awards Night under the theme: “Unethical Journalism and corruption in the media – A danger to democracy.”
Mr. Samuel Agyeman of Metropolitan (Metro) Television emerged the 2010 best journalist of the year, while 30 other individuals and media organizations were awarded for their meritorious performance in the media landscape.
The Vice President attributed some of the bad reportage in the Ghanaian media to lack of capacity of reporters to appreciate issues raised at locations and tasked managements of various media organizations to consider organizing frequent in-house training programmes for their staff to cover and report accurately.
He pledged government’s commitment to improve and empower the National Media Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) logistically to effectively discharge their duties.
Vice President Mahama chastised the media for the use of gory pictures and sub-standard reportage, which he said was inimical and could retard the smooth growth and development of the country.
“The situation where others are engaged in mercenary journalism to incite one party against the other for financial and material gains could be dangerous and injurious to our fledgling democracy.”
Mr. John Akologu Tia, Minister of Information said although the Ghana Journalists Association came out with their code of ethics 16 years ago, it was unfortunate that some journalists were still engaged in irresponsible journalism and called on the GJA to make it mandatory for its members to abide by the ethics.
He called for the widening of the frontiers of investigative journalism to cover social, economics, politics and the labour sectors in order to expose all negative tendencies in society.
Mr. Tia appealed to managements of media organizations to provide better working conditions and remunerations for their staff in order to discourage them from engaging in corrupt practices.
The Information Minister promised to partner the GJA to flush out all imposters in the practice of journalism and to use advocacy to educate members against negative reportage.
Mr. Brett Goshen, Chief Executive Officer of MTN Mobile Company said his outfit would continue to partner GJA with good packages that would facilitate the work of Journalists everywhere in the country.