WELL SAID, MR. SPEAKER, BUT …

THE media are widely acknowledged to wield enough power for change, and also serve as a catalyst for development.

In developing countries, they have an important role in advancing the cause of development and also play their traditional role, as watchdogs and gatekeepers.

Generally, the media, as an institution, can improve governance by raising citizen awareness of social issues and enabling citizens to hold government accountable, curbing corruption, and creating a platform for public debates.

They also have a duty to defend the voiceless and the marginalised, and provide a platform for pro-poor development activities.

While the media in Ghana continue to play their traditional role, they have also come under severe criticism for ethical breaches from a section of the public.

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Doe Adjaho, the latest high profile personality to criticise the media, has called for the review of the law establishing the National Media Commission, to give it more power to deal with irresponsible speech by the media.

He said the law needed to be amended and given the teeth to bite, otherwise, reckless reportage by a section of the media might destroy the nation anytime soon.

Speaking at the second in the series of the Volta Heroes Foundation Awards and Dinner Dance, at Ho at the weekend, Mr. Adjaho said that the media had the responsibility to be temperate in their reportage on political activities.

“If a person or a political actor, makes an irresponsible or potentially explosive statement, should the media report or publish it in its raw form?” he asked.

He argued that it was the duty of the media to weigh the potential harmful effects of that statement, and avoid reporting and publishing what would be toxic to the national health.

As a matter of fact, the Speaker spoke the minds of many peace loving Ghanaians and the Times cannot agree more with him because, irresponsible journalism from a section of the media is posing a threat to the country’s democracy.

We hold the view that the NMC should be empowered enough to deal with this reckless and irresponsible behavior of some journalists.

While accepting that the law should be reviewed, we are at a loss as to who should initiate the process. We feel that the Speaker is in the best position to start the process.

We also believe that one of the surest ways of curing some of the infractions of the media, is through the passage of the Freedom of Information and the Broadcasting Laws.

These two bills have been on the shelves of parliament for a very long time, and now gathering dust.

As a country, we can sanitise the airwaves and the print media by having the appropriate laws to regulate the profession.

While we sympathise with the Speaker about his genuine concern of the media, we urge parliament to expedite action on the passage of the two laws to help curb this reckless and unprofessionalism among the media.

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