Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, Sept. 10, GNA – The National Peace Council (NPC) has trained staff of the Ghana News Agency on the measures to adopt in reporting to promote peace and stability in the country.
The training covered topics such as, causes of conflict and violence in the country and how the journalist can promote peace in the country.
Mr George Amoh, the Executive Secretary of the NPC, who facilitated the training, said the media is often the most important channel of communication that exists between parties involved in a conflict.
He said journalists must report conflicts in a manner that protects the rights of the parties concerned and takes care of the sensitivities of the cultures, traditions, values and personalities.
He said conflict reporting is a skill that must be acquired by journalists to prevent resentments from escalating into violence and wars.
He pointed out that the lack of trust is a major factor contributing to conflicts, adding that, the media can reduce suspicion by digging into hot issues and revealing them to interested individuals.
“Good journalism can also present news that shows that the resolution of a particular conflict is possible by giving examples from other places and explaining local efforts at tackling them”, he said.
Mr Amoh told journalists that by examining and reporting on the two sides,’ misperceptions of each other, the media encourages disputing sides to revise their views and move closer to reducing conflict.
He added that: “Good journalism in conflict reporting includes accuracy, impartiality and responsibility, for results that are reliable”.
Mr Amoh stressed that, other ways that journalists can reduce violence is by avoiding languages that take sides like ‘terrorists’; avoiding making opinion into facts and not waiting for leaders to suggest solutions by exploring peace and suggesting ideas to the leaders and monitoring them for their actions.
He urged journalists to avoid using words that brings fear, such as devastations, tragedy, horrors to describe what must have happened to one of the parties in conflict.
He stressed that the conflict sensitive reporter only uses these words as ‘quotes’ from someone else in his or her report.
“As media personnel, especially like the GNA, we should continue the path of setting the standards in all aspects of our reporting, even more importantly, our conflict reporting mechanisms,” he said.
Mr Kweku Osei Bonsu, Acting General Manager of the Ghana News Agency delivering an opening remarks said peace is of interest to everyone; “We should therefore be professional in our judgements and reportage because it can destroy the peace the nation enjoys”.
He stressed that it is for the benefit of every citizen that peace should be put at the centre of every step journalists take.
He commended the Peace Council for enlightening the reporters on factors that trigger conflicts and the desirable measures necessary to reduce them.