President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged media practitioners to be humble and apologise whenever they go wrong or make mistakes.
He added “Politicians are not the only persons who make mistakes. Media practitioners like all human beings, can make mistakes, and when they do, they should have the humility to acknowledge their errors, and not to have their misdeeds atoned under the guise of ‘media freedom’. Irresponsible media practice is an abuse of freedom of expression, not its manifestations.”
President Akufo-Addo gave the advice at the opening of the 2019/2020 Annual Conference of the Ghana Bar Association which is being held in Takoradi in the Western Region on the theme: ‘Enhancing national security through the rule of law: Prospects and challenges’.
He observed that the rush to publish the news was a worrying signal which undermined standards and ethics of journalism, and suggested that the situation must be checked.
“The publication of unverified claims, in the haste to be first to break so-called “news” is a very worrying trend that must be checked by regulators and media practitioners alike.
“In such cases, even if the public has been misinformed, and the true facts are later known, the media often chickens out of an honest open acknowledgement that “we erred”. The response is often to refuse to apologise or sweep it under the carpets, and move on the next big story.” he added.
President Nana Akufo-Addo stressed on the need for continuous training, self -regulation and an insistence on acceptable media ethics and journalistic standards by media houses, practitioners and their organisations, as part of the processes of ensuring a culture of accountable governance, high standards and professionalism in the Ghanaian media.
This, he noted, was one of the surest ways of addressing the current shortcomings and ills of the media landscape.
He said: “No efforts is being made to suppress freedom of expression in Ghana. Indeed, the continuing vitality of the Ghanaian media and the intense discourse remain some of the most internationally admired traits of Ghanaian democracy.”
Ghanaians, today, President Akufo-Addo told the conference, were able to give boldly and freely their feedback on policies and programmes of government while civil society organisations were also able to interrogate fearlessly government actions and positions, compare them to global best practices, and offer views and critiques aimed at complementing government’s efforts.
He said, the political opposition groups were able to raise dissents openly, and canvass without intimidating alternative viewpoints.
The President underscored the role of rule and law and due processes and said that citizens had the responsibility to uphold the cardinal principles of democracy, and ensure safety and security of the people.
President Akufo-Addo stressed: “Crime is crime, and our law enforcement agencies are required to ensure that the perpetrators of crime are rapidly apprehended and prosecuted. Strenuous efforts are being made to find the killer or killers of Ahmed Suale, who will be found and made to face justice.”
Reinforcing patriotism as a cardinal value to build Ghana Beyond Aid, he said, the country needs patriotic citizens in the fight against corruption and also check the pull him down syndrome in the society.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI AIRFOCE BASE