State-owned media tasked to be bold, critical

Mr Anthony Akoto Ampaw, a legal practitioner has tasked the State media to be bold, critical and analytical and remain fair and accurate in reporting news about government and its policies.

Referring particularly to Ghana News Agency, Graphic Communications Group Limited, Ghanaian Times and Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, he stressed:   “Our state-owned media have no excuse whatsoever in toadying to the government of the day and singing hosanna to all and every policy and action of government, even where they are manifestly detrimental to the interests and wellbeing of Ghanaians.

“For the state-owned media, like other media, are under a constitutional obligation in the words of Article 162 (5) to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people of Ghana,” Mr Akoto Ampaw stated.

Mr Akoto Ampaw who is a Member of the National Media Commission (NMC) was speaking at a day’s workshop for members of the governing boards of the state-owned media, chief executives, and editors.

The workshop was organised by the NMC to sensitise the managers of the state-owned media on how to: “Ensure Free, Fair and peaceful Elections 2012 – The Role and Responsibility of the Media.”

He explained that the past norm of a lame, obsequious and pliant state-owned media that simply sang government praises and which Ghanaians have regularly denounced ought to be a thing of the past.

He therefore charge the media houses to stand above the sensationalism, misleading headlines, unsubstantiated allegations, gross fabrications and excesses, characteristic of some sections of the media.

“The four State-owned media must be in the vanguard of ethical standards, must be equally critical, analytical and fair and objective about its reportage of all political parties, its polices and activities.

In other words, the state-owned media should not be the propaganda mouthpiece of the government of the day or any political party.

The media, he said should be the tribune of the people, promote their interests and aspirations for the right to quality education, good and accessible medical service, employment, housing, water, food and generally a good quality of life and all-round national development.

Mr Akoto Ampaw said the state-owned media have a constitutional obligation to maintain their independence and autonomy from the government of the day and all other political and vested economic interests.

“This is because the state-owned media belongs to the people as a whole, society as a whole and not any particular group or vested interest.   It must therefore honestly and accurately reflect the diversity of our society and the aspirations and concerns of are people.”

He therefore asked the media to avoid any relationship that tends to compromise the independence and integrity of the practitioners, and above all display a deep sense of accountability to the public.

Mr Akoto Ampaw explained that “Media ethics exhort practitioners to avoid distortions of facts to achieve a pre-determined objective, sensational headline that are not borne out by the actual content of the news report, half-truths, and worse still plain fabrications and outright lies”.

“Media ethics also require that our media have the courage, modesty and integrity to admit when they are wrong without any clever qualifications and make the due apology and retraction where necessary.

“The role of the state-owned media in ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections requires that (they) lead the Ghanaian media in making policy issues on these important facets of our social and national life, the key and dominant issues of the election campaign,” he noted.

Other speakers included Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, NMC Chairman, Mr Edward Ameyibor and Alhaji Haruna Attah members of NMC team of experts who reviewed the Guidelines on Elections.

Source: GNA

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