Okyenhene’s word to journalists apt

The call by the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, to journalists to be courageous and speak truth to authority and be firm even in the face of challenges couldn’t have been put better.

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He challenged journalists not to be passive in the face of evil and the impediments that accompany the profession, but to actively seek the good of society at all times.

After all, the journalist’s job is basically to be the watchdog of society, pointing out wrongs and holding those in authority accountable to the masses who put them in office.

Once again, the country is in an election year and speaking truth to those we have elected into power and will soon elect and re-elect in the December polls is more crucial than ever.

We cannot look on unconcerned, sell our conscience to the highest bidder and go silent or turn our eyes in the other direction when we see something go wrong. If there is any time that journalists must ply their trade with all the seriousness and boldness it deserves, having it at the back of their minds that whatever they do must be for the public good and should impact society positively, it is now.  

The Daily Graphic finds the Okyenhene’s call at the launch of a journalism manual for the digital age in Accra recently, where he also emphasised the critical role of journalists in holding those in power accountable, as a call in the right direction, which should be heeded to by all journalists who are worthy of the name.

Indeed, as the Okyenhene said, courageous journalism requires a willingness to challenge the status quo and seek the truth, even in the face of difficulty. Thankfully, we have the RTI to compel unwilling sources to provide us with information on the various subjects we pursue.

The Okyenhene’s statement: “We can’t be passive in the face of evil; let’s uphold the truth because we need it now or never. Let us create a culture of courage where journalists can flourish. Don’t be afraid to speak truth even when it is difficult; challenge the status quo even when it’s risky,” is very instructive.

We are in an era where speaking the truth is sometimes challenged by those who are supposed to support the journalist to do his or her work. So some in the profession have resorted to ‘mind their own business’ even when they realise something is not right.

Daring journalists have also been labelled or tagged with all kinds of names when they expose people in public office or space who do not have the country’s well-being at heart, but exploit loopholes to rip the nation off.

When an illegality has been accepted by sections of society but the probing journalist finds out and goes to town with it, he or she is classified as antisocial or a killjoy, although the journalist might be saving the society and country several heartaches and huge amounts of money.

In that light, the Okyenhene’s call on the public to create an environment where journalists could do their work without fear or hindrance is very necessary. Journalists must be supported to pursue the truth and their bravery must be rewarded. They must not be intimidated or harassed but encouraged.

We congratulate veteran journalist and consultant in Communication, Media and Culture, Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, for his book, “Truth over speed, a journalism manual for the digital age”, which provided the forum for the Okyenhene’s wise words.

We pray that the book would be a good resource for journalists to pursue professionalism and ethics in news gathering, practise freelance journalism and investigative journalism, and write feature articles and editorials.

In all their writings we urge all journalists to stay true to the profession by pursuing truth and accuracy, which is the Daily Graphic’s mantra.

We cannot fail society which depends on us for the true representation of facts on all matters that concern humanity, at home and abroad. Let us be courageous and speak truth to authority at all times.

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