The Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) at the weekend, held its 10th congregation during which 690 students who pursued diploma and degree programmes in Communication Studies, graduated.
It was held under the theme, “Media responsibility and democratic elections.”
Overall, 20 students obtained first class honours, 241 had second class upper division, 170 earned second class lower, while 29 students obtained third class.
Special awards were presented to nine students for demonstrating exceptional skills and behaviour during the period of their study, with Louis Boateng Asare and Eugenia Akorfa Kumi, receiving awards for overall best diploma and degree students respectively.
Dr. Wilberforce Sefakor Dzisah, Rector of the Institute, in his address congratulated the graduands and urged them to be guided by the ethics of the profession in their work endeavours.
He has cautioned the media against slanted reportage and conduct that could plunge the country into chaos during the general elections.
He charged the media to be circumspect and very professional in handling matters of national interest, particularly political issues, stressing that, “as watchdog for society, the media has an onerous responsibility to ensure that this country remained united after the elections”.
“For us in the institute, the media must show that they are independent of political commitments and private interest of shareholders as well as government influence,” he stated.
According to Dr. Dzisah, it was important for the media to retain the trust of Ghanaians on whose behalf it exercised power as the fourth estate by refining its operations to remain objective always.
He stated that the media could not claim to be the mirror of society when it produced slanted, jaundice and tainted reports with ills to promote one’s political ideology above another’s.
He was, however, hopeful that the media would continue to live up to their fundamental responsibility of upholding ethical principles and provide the country with accurate, well informed and educative reportage.
“The media has a responsibility to be answerable to society,” he said and advised practitioners to be extremely accountable to society in their line of duty always.
Dr. Dzisah further announced a five year development plan designed by the academic board and management to enhance infrastructural, academic, fiscal and human development of the institute.
He said it was the ultimate goal of GIJ to have 90 per cent of its faculties hold doctorate degrees while a minimum of 80 per cent of senior administrative staff be master’s degree holders.
The Board Chairperson of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr. Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, who delivered the keynote address, said the nation had 313 authorised FM and 75 television stations currently operating in the country.
He said the figure showed how far the country had come in enhancing dissemination of information and strengthening the media to be more active in national development.
According to him, it was time for the media to once again demonstrate its commitment to supporting democratic governance and ensuring stability after elections.
“The role of the media as an influencer of public opinion has always been recognised by the NCA, however, there is also an acute awareness that the media should be responsible in what and how it reports and also clearly distinguished disseminating information from analysis and opinions,” he said.
By Charles Amankwa