Journalists must show independence of political influences’

Journalists have been told to abide by their moral and professional obligations, by demonstrating that they are independent of government, individuals and political influences, in order to maintain public confidence and trust in the profession.Dr. Wilberforce Sefakor Dzisah, Rector of GIJ, gave the advice at the 10th Congregation of the Institute, where 690 students graduated.

Two hundred and thirty were awarded diploma 460 with degree certificates.

“As media educators and trainers, we are concerned about the quality of reportage,” he said.

He expressed confidence that reporters could live up to their ethical responsibilities and report accurately and objectively on matters bothering the country.

He said: “We recognise the crucial role the media plays in our day-to-day existence on this earth.”

“As the watchdog for society, the media has an onerous responsibility to ensure that the country remains in one piece before, during, and beyond the December 7, 2016 elections.”

He noted that though the quality of reportage is of concern to media educators and trainers: “We are equally confident that our media professionals would live up to their fundamental responsibility of upholding ethical principles, by providing the country with undiluted coverage of all matters relating to the elections, in a democratic and objective manner.”

Dr. Dzisah, who also chairs the Ghana News Agency Board, said for the media to retain the trust of the people on whose behalf they exercise their “fourth power” function, then journalists ought to recreate and refine their operations to remain, what he called, “the guiding light of our people”.

“After all, the media has a responsibility to be answerable to society. We cannot claim to be the mirror of society, if our reports are slanted, jaundiced and tainted with the very ills for which we berate others and try to hang them.

“Media accountability must be both horizontal and vertical if our society is to make informed choices at the polls and beyond it.”

The theme for the congregation was: “Media responsibility and democratic elections.”

Mr. Eugene Baffoe-Bonne, Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority, highlighted the professional and personal responsibilities and influence of the media in democratic elections.

He said it is imperative for the media to disseminate accurate information and provide coverage that voters need, concerning the political parties and the policies that they promote.

“The information that the media lays to the public during elections can potentially have a profound impact on voters decision-making, as well as the election outcome.”

“Therefore, what is communicated by the media to the public should be done from a perspective of being unbiased,” he said.

Source: GNA

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