Accra, Aug. 03, GNA - President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Friday expressed concern about the disinformation – twist of facts by sections of the media, something, he said is unhelpful to the nation’s development.
The situation was being worsened by the media’s desire to be the first to break the news without verifying the facts.
He added that, this development was a major threat to the integrity of the news world.
Speaking at the 12th congregation of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in Accra, the President said with the advent of social media, the risk of deliberate misinformation campaign 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 described as worrying, the trend where even after the public had been misinformed and the true facts were later made known, mainstream media often 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, he said, “is not something for regulators alone to deal with, but something that the whole world of media practitioners must resolutely confront and assist the society to identify and eliminate”.
While acknowledging the immense contribution of the Ghanaian media to nation building, the President said there was the need for training, self-regulation and upholding high ethical standards by media organisations and practitioners, as part of measures at building a culture of professionalism in the media space.
That was the way forward to help address the shortcomings and ills of the Ghanaian media landscape, and urged media owners to invest capacity building of their staff.
“The media has immeasurable power to build up the confidence of our society and institutions and therefore, ought to be assisted, to be on top of its game at all times.”
President Akufo-Addo called for journalists to take a second look at the power they wielded and the responsibility they owed society in ensuring that integrity was not sacrificed.
“Time has come to harness the full potential of the media, keep it up to pace with technological advancement, so it helps educate and stimulate the public to contribute to the systematic management of the country.”
The President underlined the government’s unwavering commitment to empower citizens, media and civil society, to play their varied roles in national development.
He added that the “Right to Information Bill”, currently before Parliament, when passed, would ensure that all stakeholders would have access to information and played their role in realising the vision of building a progressive and prosperous Ghana beyond aid.
The President urged the GIJ to continue its responsibility 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 to the development of its infrastructure to provide space for increased student admission in the next couple of years as a result of the Free Senior High School Policy.
Eight hundred and seventy (870) students were awarded diploma and degree certificates in Communication Studies.