The Dean of the Faculty of Integrated Communication Sciences at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Dr Modestus Fosu, has called for more discourse and advocacy off spiritual issues for them to be codified into the criminal laws of the country to streamline the practice.
According to him, there was no way one could prosecute perpetrators of spiritual crimes because there might not be physical evidence.
"There is a legal gap, as the Constitution made no provision to address spiritual matters and crimes committed in various areas in the country," he said.
The lecturer made the call during a presentation at an inter-faculty research seminar organised by the directorate of research, innovation and development (DRID) of the GIJ in Accra last Friday.
The lecture, which was the first of its kind by the institute, was on the topic: "Blazing a trail? Collaborative journalism for intervention: The case of Fafaa FM in Dzodze, Ghana".
It was aimed at, among others, identifying avenues through which the media could contribute to ensuring justice.
Explaining the theme, Dr Fosu said the radio station had a programme called ‘Duamenefa’, which identified wrongdoings in the Anlo District, mainly of spiritual nature, conducted investigations into them with other stakeholders and helped secure justice for victims.
He said after receiving petitions, the station forwarded copies to relevant stakeholders after examining its merits, after which the stakeholders, including the Duamenefa Foundation, held community arbitration events to resolve the matters, with perpetrators being left to go scot-free, as no punishment was provided for in the Constitution.
According to Dr Fosu, there were three major classifications of journalism — journalism for social change, communal journalism and journalism based on social discourse.
He said a research he had conducted had attempted to identify the category into which Fafaa FM would fit, but the station could not fit in with any of the three classifications.
He, therefore, proposed a fourth classification — collaborative Journalism, which captures spiritual intervention journalism.
The Deputy Rector of the GIJ, Prof. Opoku Mensah, said the institute was interested in the critical interrogation of issues related to the media, the reason for which the seminar was organised.
He said the seminar would serve as a means of education for journalism students and the public, as well as help improve activities of the media in the country.
"This is part of our mandate — we are working hard to make sure that we create a vibrant space for research in media and communication.
"Currently, there are discussions going on about issues regarding law, ethics and others about media practice," he said, adding that such lectures would help policy making regarding media practice in the country.
For his part, the director of the DRID and Senior Lecturer of the GIJ, Dr Etse Sikanku, said the lecture provided a platform for the faculty and the public to engage in research deliberations.
"It is through research that we are able to build enough progress in the field of journalism and communication," he said.