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26-Oct-2012  
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Jerry John Rawlings
 
 
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Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings has said it is dangerous for the media to allow its ranks to be corrupted by power-seeking politicians, thereby abandoning its vital watch-dog role.

“Unfortunately, like many sectors of our society, the media have also caught the bug (corruption), and petty competition, monetary and material influences, open political bias and falsehood have eaten into our media practice,” he stated.

The NDC founder sounded the cautionary note at The Freedom Lectures organized by the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) in Accra on Wednesday evening, under the theme: ‘Corruption: A Threat to Ghanaąs Democracy and National Development’.

He said under the guise of independence “responsible media has given way to irresponsible and sponsored reportage and this has to be curbed by the media fraternity itself if it is to win back the confidence of the ordinary Ghanaian who is often confused by the contradictions he is fed with daily”.

He stated that one of the institutions that had the inherent capacity to help expose and combat corruption, was the news media, adding, “Traditionally, they are known as watchdogs of society and also have a
gate-keeping role in ensuring that whatever information is delivered to the general public is responsibly couched, truthful and devoid of the potential to have a negative effect on society.”

President Rawlings said, “The media has to apply strict ethics in the distribution of news and should desist at all times from being under the influence of third parties as far as quality and balance of their reports are concerned.

“The Ghanaian media has for a considerable period been seen as vibrant with some excellent journalism exhibited in the not too distant past.”

He damned social commentators for unleashing on the public their uninformed opinions, thereby misinforming the public.

“The advent of talk radio has led to all sorts of characters with no capacity to discuss issues of national importance being given the opportunity to shout hoarse on our airwaves, throwing abuse and insults and feeding us with shallow arguments that further misinform our society.

“Given that we are looking for ways to combat corruption, it is imperative that machinery is put in place to raise the standards of our media practice and also tighten disciplinary procedures (through the Ghana Journalists Association and the National Media Commission,” he noted.

He called for more resources for the National Media Commission (NMC) to be able to operate like the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in the United Kingdom.
 
 
 
Source: William Yaw Owusu/Daily Guide
 
 

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