Don’t promote discussions that threaten nation’s peace, security —NMC

The National Media Commission (NMC) has cautioned against misuse of media freedom to misinform the public and promote discussions that threaten Ghana’s peace and security.

According to Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, chairperson of the NMC, a free media space requires that journalists practise professionally and ethically in the interest of the Ghanaian public.

He therefore advised journalists to avoid any action or work that could potentially erode the gains made in Ghana’s democratic journey.

“Freedom is not gained in isolation. It comes with accompanying responsibilities. As journalists, we owe a duty to Ghanaians to use our medium and platforms to protect the country’s peace and security. We cannot be stooges for any individual or groups and lose the trust imposed in us by the very society we serve,” he stated.

Mr Ayeboafoh was speaking in Accra yesterday during the 2019 World Press Freedom Day celebration.

Organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the event was on the theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Election in Times of Disinformation.”

Addressing electronic media specifically, he said it was time journalists seek the opinion of knowledgeable resource persons on national and developmental issues rather than political parties’ representatives, who only seek to politicise all issues to their advantage.

“It is sad that in this age where we need to focus on working towards realising our development goals, discussions on our airwaves have been dominated by talks of the two major political parties in the country. It is always about who did this or who did that. I appeal to the electronic media to value and seek the expert opinion of resource persons rather than these political parties’ representatives. Our information to the public must be educative and progressive and not political debate,” he added.   

To be fulfilled in the role as watchdog in society, Mr Ayeboafoh urged journalists to be responsible and not take sides on matters but remain professional in their service to Ghanaians.

“We should be part of the history on Ghana’s democratic development but that can be achieved only if we are professional in the discharge of our mandate and remain responsible,” he stated.

As development partners, he said it was imperative that journalists internally regulate their conduct in view of the provisions in the constitution which guarantees absolute press freedom.

He called for cooperation between security agencies and the media to end impunity and attacks on journalists which was a threat to Ghana’s democratic gains.

United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Representative in Ghana, Abdourahamane Diallo, noted that in the face of misinformation and fake news on social media, journalists were expected to focus on producing accurate and verifiable news to inform the public.

This, he said requires that journalists remain vigilant and work together to end crimes perpetuated by criminals to cause fear among media practitioners.

Veteran journalist, Cameron Duodu, asked journalists to be intelligent and support themselves in highlighting social problems which threaten Ghana’s peace and security.

“Currently, illegal mining is destroying our water bodies and rain forest. This activity is a threat to our existence as a country. We, now more than ever, need the collective strength of all of us to fight this canker. Let’s use our press freedom to bring such issues to the fore so we can deal with it collectively and not leave it for the politicians,” he stated.  

 Ms Ajoa Yeboah Afari, chairperson of the Editors Forum, called on journalists to report accurately and factually to counter fake news to retain the public’s confidence and trust.

Executive Secretary of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Gloria Hiadzi, called on security agencies to protect journalists as attack on the media creates an insecure society.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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