Mr Affail Monney, the Vice President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), has said the principles underpinning journalism must not be sacrificed on the altar of speed which was normally termed “scooping”.
“The tendency of radio stations calling people and straight away putting them on air, the recording of voices without permission is unacceptable as far as the ethics of the profession is concerned”.
Mr Monney, who was giving a presentation at a Newmont Media workshop for practitioners in the Eastern Region in Koforidua, said that trend was irresponsible journalism and called on managers of radio stations to abide by the ethics of the profession.
He mentioned biased reportage, untrained personnel who posed as journalists, media houses identifying with specific political parties as some of the many challenges confronting the media system and called for efforts to address them.
Mr Monney, a Chief Editor of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), said the current state of the media in Ghana could best be described as “we have won the war against quantity but lost on quality” and added that the more the influx of the radio stations the more the profession loses its respect.
He said that trend questions the rationale behind the granting of operational licenses to the 127 radio stations that were using the airwaves to promote their own agenda to the detriment of the growth of the society and journalism on the whole.
Mr Monney said the error in the system was confirmed by the many petitions at the Media Commission and advised all journalists to be mindful of the ethics and practice in a responsible and knowledge based atmosphere to raise the image of the profession.
Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, a former Editor of the Ghanaian Times and a former GJA President, called on practitioners to specialize in areas such as mining to be able to report fairly on the sector.
She said the media to a large extent had not been fair to the mining sector as more often, reportage on mining involved conflicts because journalists did not have in-depth knowledge of the legalities and legislation regarding mines operations.
Ms Yeboah-Afari said the media system today was not the best because the ethics of the profession had been relegated to the background and explained that the crave for the passing of the Information Bill was not for journalists alone but for all Ghanaians.
Professor Kwame Gyan, a lecturer at the University of Ghana, said journalism had become irresponsible in the country and urged that the GJA be firm in bringing sanity to the practice of the profession.
He also explained that the Right to Information Bill was not meant for only journalists adding that the constitution already guaranteed right to information but the media had not positioned itself to take advantage of it.
Mr Oduro-Kwarteng Marfo, the Communications Manager of Newmont Akyem Project, said the workshop was to afford media practitioners the opportunity to know mining laws in Ghana so that their reportage would be knowledge based.
He said Newmont believed in building the capacity of people including the media and all its stakeholders and urged reporters to specialize in mining reporting since it was a big industry that needed attention.