The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) last week, announced the adoption of new code of ethics, to help deal with excesses in media practice in the country.
The document, which is a revised version of the original ethical code, primarily, seeks to self-regulate an industry that is very dynamic with rapid development in both technology and practice.
Since 1994 when the original code of ethics was adopted, it was fashioned to cater for a few existing traditional media houses.
Significantly, media practice has expanded to include the internet as well as social media that include Facebook and Whatsapp.
These new media forms, and the proliferation of radio and television, with more than 400 of them operating in the country, have presented new ethical challenges that the new code of ethics is attempting to deal with.
Indeed, the chairman of the Validation Committee of the GJA, poignantly stated that “the code, apart from ensuring the highest journalistic standards, is to assist practitioners to avoid legal breaches, and to prevent unprofessional conduct”.
The Times welcomes the new code of ethics, which is timely and very necessary at this crucial time in the country.
The contribution of the media in the development of the country cannot be underestimated, but some people have expressed anxiety over unprofessional conduct of some media practitioners.
Indeed, the conduct of the “Montie 3” is just one of the numerous ethical breaches that have occurred in the recent past in the country, but quite frankly no media institution can entirely escape blame for flouting one ethical code or another.
Once a while, a few media practitioners violate the ethics by the unprofessional conduct, but, admittedly, this is not widespread to completely undermine the professional work of media practitioners in the country.
However, the small number of practitioners, who violate the ethics, continue to give journalism a bad name, of which some observers of the media landscape are worried.
Unfortunately, in the eyes of a section of the society, the GJA has been unable to enforce ethical discipline when members go wrong.
The association must crack the whip and discipline members, who violate the ethics of the profession, to promote media accountability, and ensure public trust in the media.