Accountability defines a good journalist – Blay-Amihere

Kabral Blay-Amihere

Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, past Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), has advised journalists to be responsible and accountable in their reportage.

He said a good journalist was defined by his or her accountability to the reports they put out, and by staying true to the pillars of ethical journalism that included truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, honesty, diligence, effective writing and editing, cross checking and checking, and humility to correct.

Ambassador Blay-Amihere, a former ambassador to La Cote d’Ivoire, gave the advice on Friday at the closure of a three-day workshop organised by the Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG) in collaboration with the GNA to enlighten the Agency’s Regional Managers, Editors and Reporters on nuclear energy and its importance to socio-economic development.

It was on the theme: “Strengthening and Sustaining Public Trust through Accountable Reporting”.

While acknowledging the Ghana News Agency (GNA) for its long-standing position in reporting accurate, objective and balanced news story, Ambassador Amihere said a good news story should be information based and credible, be from authentic and authority sources, provide service to community/society, promote public interest and community welfare, be of ethical professional standard, good social behaviour, and distant from impartiality and politics.

“The social behaviour of journalists also determines how that journalist’s story or comment is taken seriously and seen as a credible one. A journalist is regarded as an opinion leader in his or her community, therefore, the person’s conduct in public is very important.

“The trust people have in a journalist sometimes depends on the person’s political orientation. So it is better they distance themselves from it and not take sides, so that their stories are not seen from a perspective that will undermine its credibility,” he advised.

As there seemed to be a competition in the Ghanaian media landscape, Mr Blay-Amihere cautioned GNA’s editorial team to stand firm and not join the many that were going the wrong way by rushing to be the first publisher of a story, as that could devalue the Agency’s standards, adding, they however, had to maintain their smartness.

Mr Blay-Amihere admonished the Agency to undertake a periodic review of its work, be an effective gate keeper and conveyer belt if it wanted to undertake accountable reporting.

“You don’t need to be an expert or a scientist to cover science and you don’t need to be an engineer to cover engineering. You can do that by reading and listening to experts while you apply your mind to report on an issue. And you will be a success,” he added.

The former NMC Chair cautioned the entire media landscape that the public would only visit news portals that were trustworthy or credible, hence it was crucial that they stood by their integrity and professional ethics to tell the truth at all times.

Speaking on energy reportage, the former Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, said Nuclear Energy was an unchartered area, hence he entreated the Agency to take charge of the sector by equipping themselves with knowledge from the right sources to earn public trust in the sector.

Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, former Chairperson, The Editors’ Forum and former President of the Ghana Journalists Association, who schooled participants on “Effective News Content Development and Management – Key Requirements for Editors”, entreated them to pay strict attention to detail, seek understanding while reporting on energy, to be able to better tell their story.

She said it was prudent that GNA’s journalists helped readers to cultivate a sense of curiosity with their stories’ enriched details, especially on addressing the misconceptions of nuclear and nuclear energy.

She reminded them of the need to use simple language in their reportage to make it easy for their audiences to understand and get the impact of the story.

Source: GNA

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