Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) reviews code of ethics

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is in the process of reviewing its code of ethics for journalists in the country, in conformity with the emerging dynamics in media practice in the country. 

According to the GJA, the review had become necessary in the light of the proliferation of radio and television stations, newspapers, social media and allied media outlets, which has made the media landscape a complex one and difficult to manage. 

The last time a code of ethics was formulated for the GJA was in 1994, with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) of Germany. 

In connection with this, a brainstorming session was organised for experts in the media industry to come out with preliminary findings for the drafting of a final document to guide the performance of the media in the country. 

The President of the GJA, Mr Affail Monney, said journalism had gone through several complexities and for which reason the code of ethics needed to be reshaped to stand the test of time. 

He also said a new code of ethics would help journalists to perform creditably and professionally.

The Coordinator of the review committee, Mr Kweku Rockson, said the agenda of the review committee was based on inclusiveness. 

He also said the committee would collate views and add value from stakeholders. 

Mr Rockson said the committee hoped to fashion out a coherent code of ethics that considered new technologies and the new media landscape.

Country Director of FES, Mr Fritz Kopsieker, said his outfit was operating in 100 countries to promote security, social democracy and economic development and that Ghana was one of the partners, hence their involvement in the consultation to review the code of ethics. 

He added that a code of ethics was needed for the media in Ghana, considering the challenges of the 2016 elections and the fact that through a validation exercise, a feasible approach would evolve for the Ghanaian media to follow. 

The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, thanked the FES for supporting the review of the code of ethics. 

He noted that the core mandate of the of NMC was to ensure high journalistic standards in the country, especially when the landscape was very large. 

Mr Gyan-Apenteng also expressed the belief that the new code would help those at the frontline to practise journalism with decorum. 

The Director of Newspapers at the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, asked media practitioners to act professionally and ethically to gain the trust and confidence of the citizenry, just like other professionals in the country. 

He also said the deliberations of the review committee might be declared the "Ho declaration" in the annals of the GJA and that should encourage media practitioners in the region to adopt best practices. 

Members of the review committee are the Editor of the Ghanaian Times and General Secretary of the GJA, Mr Dave Agbenu; a social media consultant, Mr Kwami Ahiabenu; a lecturer at the University of Professional Studies, Accra Mr Rockson; the GJA President, Mr Monney; the President of PRINPAG, Madam Gina Blay; the Chairman of the NMC, Mr Gyan–Apenteng and the Director of Newspapers at GCGL, Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh.

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