NGO advocates development journalism

mediaThe Media Development Centre (MEDEC), a non-governmental organization with the objective of developing need-specific programmes for enhancing socio-economic development, on Tuesday launched a programme dubbed: “Journalism Clinic” to help build the capacity of journalists in specific fields.

The maiden training programme, which brought together students from the Ghana Institute Journalism, staff of various Journalism training institutions, journalists and other stakeholders, discussed environmental journalism as well as issues bothering on environmental sanitation.

Mr Richard Ellimah, Executive Director of the Centre for Social Impact Studies, who launched the programme, expressed concern about the focus of the media on politics and sports to the detriment of other sectors of the economy.

He said it was being said that Ghana might miss the Millennium Development Goal on reducing maternal mortality, environmental sustainability and access to water and sanitation and pointed out that poor sanitation in the country reflected a weak and unresponsive local government structure.

Mr Ellimah said even though some media houses discussed and reported on environmental issues, their programmes could be better improved.

“Most of our journalists admittedly do not have the requisite academic background to be able to comprehensively report on specialized fields like health, environment, natural resource extraction, finance and economic reporting and so on…,” he said.

He was unhappy that some journalists promoted multinational interests to the detriment of peoples’ livelihood.

Mr Ellimah commending MEDEC said there was no doubt that the capacity of journalists needed to be built.

Mr Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman, Executive Director of MEDEC, noted that the media profession could be sanitized and practiced more responsibly through specialization and issue-based practice.

He said the Journalism Clinic hoped to assist mainstream journalism training schools to prepare students to focus more on developmental issues.

Mr Fredrick Asiamah, Director of Communications and Partnerships, MEDEC, also said the organization would use the media tools to promote grassroots development.

He said reporting on the environment was generally low even though the environment cut across various sectors of the economy and proper governance of the environment could facilitate development.

Mr Asiamah said MEDEC hoped to build a database of journalists reporting on the environment.

Dr Messan Mawugbe, Managing Consultant, Centre for Media Analysis, also advised journalists to be innovative when reporting on the environment rather than always depending on press releases or reporting media events.

“Look for the news, don’t wait to be called to report,” he added.

Source: GNA

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