The deliberate churning out of inaccurate information by the media has the tendency to undermine the sustainability of Ghana's democracy, President Nana Add Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warned.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the penchant and desire of some media organizations to be the first to break the news without recourse to the verification of facts was a bane on the country's fledgling democracy.
Speaking at the 12th Congregation of the Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra on Friday, August 3, 2018, the President noted that with the advent of social media, the risk of deliberate misinformation championed by "some elements in the democratic space" was a major threat to the country's fledgling democracy.
"This deliberate misinformation campaign which is not new in politics and war, have now gained added currency with the proliferation of media channels, which has become a vociferous tool for political actors who aim to win public relations battles by twisting facts and churning them out through traditional media as news.
President Akufo-Addo, who expressed the concerns, particularly with the trend where even after the public had been misinformed and the true facts were later made known, mainstream media, in most cases, blatantly refused or failed to make an open and honest acknowledgment that they were wrong, saying, "the choice is often to sweep it under the carpet and move unto the next big story."
This unfortunate situation, he said, was not something for regulators alone to deal with, but something that the whole world of media practitioners should resolutely confront and assist the society to identify and eliminate.
Acknowledging the immense contribution of the Ghanaian media to nation building, however, the President advocated for the need to train, self-regulate and uphold high ethical standards by media organizations and practitioners, as part of measures at building a culture of professionalism in the media space.
This, he said, would help address the shortcomings and ills of the Ghanaian media landscape and urged media owners to invest continuously in the capacity of their staff.
He said the media had the immeasurable power to build up the confidence of the society and institutions, hence the need to assist it to be on top of its game at all times.
President Akufo-Addo called on media practitioners to re-examine the power they wielded and the responsibility they owed society in ensuring that integrity was not sacrificed for the future of the society, adding that the time had come to harness the full potential of the media, keep it up to pace with technological advancement, so that it would help educate and stimulate the public to contribute to the systematic management of the country.
He gave the assurance that government would remain committed to empowering the citizens, media and civil society to play their roles in the development of the country.
In the advancement of entrenching integrity in the media space, the President was of the view that the Right to Information Bill, currently before Parliament, would ensure, when passed, that all stakeholders would have access to information and play their distinctive roles in realizing the vision of building a progressive and prosperous Ghana Beyond Aid.
President Akufo-Addo urged GIJ to continue its responsibly of maintaining the quality of professional training for the media landscape.
"They have done a good work so far and worthy of commendation", he said, and pledged government's support for the development of its infrastructural capacity to help in providing space for increased student population in the next couple of years as a result of the Free Senior High School Programme.
Some 870 students were awarded diploma and degree certificates in Communication Studies.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)