Obey principles guiding the journalism profession – Tetteh

Ransford Tetteh - GJA President

The new executive of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) was on Monday sworn into office with a charge to obey the principles guiding the journalism profession.

Mr Ransford Tetteh, President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), who made the call, said; “We have no right to legislate how you practice journalism but we have the right to ensure that the code of ethics of the profession are respected.”

“People may disagree with our reports but let us not be reckless,” he told the journalists.

The PPC held its elections on December 1, 2010 and elected into office a new set of executives to manage affairs for the next three years.

Mr Tetteh said without the media, democracy could not thrive, adding that it was for this reason that the media was seen as the Fourth Estate of the Realm.

He said the PPC brought to the public, knowledge of the activities of parliament for efficient participation and added however that for airtime and space constraints some members were not heard.

“Nevertheless balance events in such a way that all Members of Parliament are heard because the public mostly judge them on media reports on them,” he said.

He called on the PPC to be accurate, objective and balanced in their coverage of Parliament.

Mr Rashid Pelpuo, Deputy Majority Leader, said PPC was such an important organ and an eye of parliament.

He said the state would be in danger if the media failed on its mandates and responsibilities and called on them to keep government on its toes.

Mr Ambrose Dery, Deputy Minority Leader, praised the press for fighting alongside those who fought to break the culture of silence in Ghana adding “if Ghana is seen as the beacon of democracy the press has contributed a lot to it.”

He said since the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, the press had done so  well in its reportage even at the international front.

Mr Dery called on journalists to listen to the views of all sides of a story before they put it in the public domain.

He noted that the press must put the interest of the nation above all other interests and educate the masses on the role of parliament and parliamentarians.

The Dean of the PPC, Mr Edwin Arthur, who was elected unopposed, said in his acceptance remarks that the previous administration (which he headed)built a vibrant parliamentary press corps by organising numerous workshops on various subjects to build the capacity of the members.

He said the PPC had been able to send two of its members to participate in the training programme of the Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

He noted that the outgoing administration mooted the formation of the West Africa Parliamentary Press Corps adding that Ghana would host the first ever international conference of the association on March 21, 2011.

Mr Arthur said with the assistance of the United States Embassy three members would be selected to visit the United States Congress.

He said parliamentary reporting was a specialised field of media practice and Parliamentary Correspondents were expected to be professionally trained to place them in a better position to do their job well.

Mr Arthur said plans were on course to establish scholarship schemes for members who did not have the means to pursue further courses but were willing to upgrade themselves academically.

“Our goal for the next three years is to ensure quality parliamentary reporting and anything short of this will not be tolerated,” he said.

He urged members to avail themselves to all opportunities that would help them enrich their reportage.

Source: GNA

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