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Commemoration of World Radio Day: Journalists urged to be ethical

BY: Dickson Worlanyo Dotse & Jemima Okang Addae
Madam Fatimatu Abubakar, Deputy Information Minister, giving the keynote address at the World Radio Day celebration in Accra
Madam Fatimatu Abubakar, Deputy Information Minister, giving the keynote address at the World Radio Day celebration in Accra

Journalists and media practitioners have been urged to be ethical in the discharge of their duties as critics and information disseminators.

According to a Deputy Minister of Information, Mrs Fatimatu Abubakar, the concept of ethical and critical journalism should not be mutually exclusive, adding that journalists could criticise and still be ethical.

Speaking on the theme: “Radio and trust” at the commemoration of World Radio Day in Accra yesterday, Mrs Abubakar said it was important radio journalists in particular constantly fed the public with the truth and verifiable and accurate information, in line with basic standards of ethical journalism.

According to her, radio should not be used to incite, misinform or force personal opinions on the public, adding that radio work was a public service and, therefore, those who were privileged to have access to the airwaves should be mindful of their usage.

“They are not personal property for personal use. They should be used as impartial platform for public good; radio should be a platform for responsible conduct,” she said.

The deputy minister further said protectors of radio, including civil society organisations (CSOs), should not be given a one-sided public commentary of protecting the airspace, adding that they must not just criticise the police when they took action against matters they perceived to be criminal but also be heard loud when irresponsible conduct was exhibited on the airwaves.

Ensuring trust

The Secretary-General of the Ghana Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mrs Ama Serwaa Nerquaye Tetteh, urged stakeholders not to relent in their efforts to improve radio trustworthiness.

According to her, people were more likely to become devoted listeners if they had access to relevant information, adding: “There is more to radio than announcements, news and songs.”

For his part, the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Affail Monney, said it was the responsibility of media practitioners to deodorise the media by being responsible, stressing that “this truth must always be lodged in the memory of all journalists”.

He also said the time had come for the authorities to prioritise the acquisition of delayed broadcast equipment to help sieve materials before they got to the public.

Mr Monney encouraged media practitioners not to feel intimidated in the performance of their duties but entreated them to always ensure decency, decorum and professionalism.