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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has called on journalists and media practitioners across the country to take a second look at the power they possess and the responsibility they owe society, to ensure that they do not sacrifice integrity and the future of our societies as they to beak the news without crosschecking for facts.
According to the President, the media has immeasurable power to build up the confidence and values of our society and its institutions, and therefore ought to be assisted in being on top of its game at all times. He said media owners in particular must invest continuously in building the capacity of their staff.
Speaking at the 12th congregation ceremony of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in Accra on Friday, August 3, 2018, he underscored the importance of the media in the political, social and economic architecture of the country.
He said like many other good things, the work of the media has its own associated risks and inherent challenges, especially in the age of social media.
With the first challenge being the risk of deliberate misinformation campaign by some elements in the democratic space, President Akufo-Addo said this is a major threat to the integrity of the news world.
“it is not something to be left only to regulators to deal with. It is something that the whole world of media practitioners, including you members of the graduating class, must resolutely confront, and assist the society to identify and eliminate,” he stated.
Secondly, the President underpinned the inadvertent misinformation that are sometimes published by the mainstream media.
“This happens when there is a little twist of facts often to get the best headline, or a publication of the unverified claim in the haste to be first in breaking the news.”
He said the worrying trend is that, most at times even after the public has been misinformed, and the true facts are later made known, mainstream media often chickens out of an honest open acknowledgement that ‘we were wrong’.
“The choice is often to sweep it under the carpet, and move on to the next big story.”
He however encouraged media owners, in particular, to invest continuously in building the capacity of their staff, as the media has immeasurable power to build up the confidence and values of society and its institutions.
He reiterated Government’s commitment towards empowering the citizen, media and civil society, and assured that the Right to Information Bill, which is in Parliament, will be passed.
The President also assured GIJ of Government’s commitment towards the development of the infrastructural capacity of the institution, a move, he said, would help in providing space for the increased student population who in the next couple of years, will be seeking admission to this institution, as a result of the Free Senior High School policy.
According to him, an initial modest amount of GH¢5 million has been allocated to GIJ in the 2018 budget, and the least he could do was to make sure that GETFund releases this money to the institution as soon as possible to help complete the first of many lecture hall complexes and offices at their new site.
However, the President urged them to be the generation of Ghanaian media practitioners that refuses to be either victim or pawn, and accepts to travel down the path of genuine popular enlightenment, which represents the strongest guarantee of our national independence and sovereignty.
Source: Sammy Adjei || Ghananewsonline.com.gh