Journalists who tell lies are charlatans – Ayeboafoh

Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo

Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, a Veteran Journalist and the General Manager of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, says journalists who tell lies about others and disregard the ethics of the profession are charlatans.

He, therefore, entreated media practitioners to exercise a great sense of responsibility in discharging their duties, saying; “When journalists tell lies about other people, they are killing them, therefore they must give meaning to the freedom they craved for and respect the freedom of others”.

Mr Ayeboafoh expressed these sentiments at a forum organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in Accra, on Wednesday, to discuss matters concerning freedom of expression, working conditions and safety of journalists.

The forum, which was funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), brought together veteran, senior and young media practitioners.

Mr Ayeboafoh said freedom without responsibility was irrelevant, adding; “When you’re not free, then you don’t own up to your liabilities and it meant someone is asking you to act”.

He said journalists were supposed to be responsible because they spoke on behalf of others and should be open-minded and fair in all their endeavours.

He noted that freedom of expression was a vital ingredient in any functioning democracy and, therefore, journalists must combine freedom with responsibility.

Mr Ayeboafoh cited an advocate of freedom of expression; Mikhail Gorbachev, a Soviet Politician, who introduced liberalism for a stronger and boisterous society, which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.     

He also cited Joseph Saidu Momoh, the Former Sierra Leonean President, who once said: “We believe that the media must be given every amount of freedom… if you muscle the people for too long it will get to a point when they will not be able to absorb it. 

“However, the media must realise that they must be responsible and they cannot be reckless, my argument has been that a journalist’s pen is lethal as a rifle in the hands of a military marksman”.

Mr Affail Monney, the President of the GJA, on his part, said freedom of expression was the oxygen of the journalism profession but it must go with responsibility.

He said journalism in Ghana had gone a long way from the darkest period of yesteryears when journalists were subjected to inhuman treatment to lay the foundation for the media system to operate today.

“I believe that as we exercise freedom, we should actualise responsibility and the two must go in tandem, otherwise journalists may spur chaos,” he said.

The GJA President said although the salaries and wages of media practitioners was nothing to write home about, it should not be the basis to blackmail and spread falsehood about others.

“In worst case scenario, some journalists are not even paid at all…but man, they say, must eat and survive so the survival instinct pushes people to do criminal acts by blackmailing, attacking and unjustifiably do all kinds of things to survive…there is no justification for these,” he said, and urged journalists to be law abiding.

Mr Monney commended UNESCO for supporting the GJA to organise the forum, which would expand the public space for discourse.

The forum was chaired by Dr Bonnah Koomson, the Chairman of the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee of the GJA.

Source: GNA

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