Ghana journalists advised not to sacrifice factual accuracy for speed

Journalists have been counselled not to sacrifice accuracy in their haste to be the first to break the news.

They should crosscheck their facts, clear all doubts and be certain that the information they publish is accurate and factual.

Mr Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, the Executive Director of NewsBridge Africa, who gave the advice, said though speed was an important element in journalism, it must not override accuracy and truth.

He was speaking at a two-day capacity-building workshop for selected journalists in the Ashanti Region on Conflict Reporting.

The event, put together by the National Peace Council (NPC), with funding from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), sought to build the capacity of participants to promote responsible conflict reporting and peace building ahead of the 2020 Elections.

Mr Dogbevi said it was unethical for journalists to report rumours without crosschecking their facts to maintain their own credibility and that of the media organisation they worked for.

He said it was important for journalists to find the original source of information and ask questions to verify the authenticity of the information to avoid legal suits.

Getting the facts wrong, he noted, could mislead some sections of the public, though most of the audience, sometimes, knew the issues better than the journalist.

He said people had vested interest in issues involving opposing factions, underlining the need for journalists to stay neutral when reporting on such matters.

Mr George Amoh, the Acting Executive Secretary of the NPC, said journalists had a key role to play in ensuring a peaceful election, acceptable by all interest groups.

He said it was about time journalists moved away from the usual practice of reporting and adopt a more development-oriented journalism that promotes peace and cohesion.

He entreated the participants to develop passion for prompting peace in their stories for the general good of the populace.

Rev Emmanuel Badu Amoah, the Ashanti Regional Executive Secretary of NPC, said freedom of speech came with a responsibility to ensure that passions were not inflamed to the detriment of society.

“The National Peace Council views the press as a very potent force in democratic dispensation and we appeal to all members of the profession to play responsible roles to sustain and deepen the peace we currently enjoy,” he stated.

Source: GNA

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