‘Press freedom builds peace’

Madam Lynn Walsh (left) being interviewed by our correspondent, Malik Sullemana

Madam Lynn Walsh (left) being interviewed by our correspondent, Malik Sullemana

Press freedom is a sure way to ensuring a peaceful nation, Lynn Walsh, an Investigative Executive Producer at NBC7.COM, United States of America, has said.

She said allowing the media to freely publish the opinions of people on things going on in their communities and around the world could prevent uprising and civil arrest.

“When people can freely express themselves, it could be a step toward a peaceful nation. It is when people feel oppressed, when people are unable to share their beliefs, share what they feel, how they feel that is when you potentially could have uprising and civil unrest,” Madam Walsh said in an exclusive interview with The Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of the World Journalists Conference at Incheon City, South Korea.

Madam Walsh, who was one of the key speakers at the conference organised by the Journalists Association of Korea (JAK) last week, said journalists could promote world peace if they abide by the internationally recognised journalistic ethics of seeking the truth, being transparent and accountable, minimising harm, thus respecting and protecting victims of crimes and conducting due diligence.

Often, she said journalists do not tell the public why and how they cover events, write and investigative reports.

She advised journalists not to only verify or cross check facts from two sides as the case maybe in presenting stories, adding that there are often more than one source to a story and journalists must work extra hard to get the other sources.

The Investigative Executive Producer was concerned that opinions shared by commentators known to be attached with media organisations, especially cable news networks were often presented as facts instead of opinions and urged journalists to separate facts from opinions.

On fake news, Madam Walsh said it was not a recent development but added that social media organisations including Facebook, twitter, Instagram and google had the responsibility to combat its excesses.

She said the advent of technology made it easier for anyone to create their own news and share them online as facts, but the journalist should live above reproach, thus applying the tenets of good practices- being fair, being accurate and being ethical.

Notwithstanding, she advised journalists to draw a line between a story piece and an opinion piece.

The World Journalists Conference was attended by more than 90 journalists across the globe.

The JAK, organisers of the conference aimed to use the media as one of the options by the South Korea government to facilitate discussions on the much talked about North Korea’s nuclear development.

 

From Malik Sullemana Incheon, South Korea

 

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