Media houses must uphold high standards – Gyan Apenteng

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Former Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Nana Kwasi Gyan Apenteng says media houses must uphold and strictly observe high standards to foster responsible and ethical journalism.

He says although media houses have their own different ideological political interests, there should be standards or conventions set by regulators.

For him standard-setting is not only important for media houses as organisations, but also for individual journalists who have a commitment to upholding the principles of ethical practice.

Speaking on JoyNews’ Change Speaker Series VII  on Saturday, May 11, he said, “So that we know the difference between news and opinion. So that when we are reporting, say a rally, if it’s an NDC rally, the NPP press won’t say that the numbers were small and say all the negative things. We, the public, may not even know what was actually said at the rally because that is not their interest. Their interest is to denigrate the events and then take our minds off from whatever may have been said and vice versa.”

According to him, establishing standards for news reporting that prioritise good values would help to clarify the distinction between news, opinion, and commentary.

“So when we are able to set these standards and show that, in news reporting, if the number is 100 across board for everybody, it’s the same as reporting a football match. So once we have trained the sports writers, they may support Hearts or Kotoko, but if the match is reported, the report is the same. The goal was scored in the 54th minute, they are not going to say, it was scored in the 30th minute because that’s what you wish would have happened. And then after that, you can use other interviews and all that to establish other opinions.”

He proposed that media houses should focus on providing specialised training to at least a number of journalists who can serve as election experts.

“If we know that over a period of time, we have trained people who we know will become our eyes and ears within the media houses and they take pride in saying that, the same way as we have got financial reporters and they are very faithful about what they are doing, we need to train some people, not only as political reporters but as election reporting specialists.

“I’m saying this because the objective of the training must be that in the end, the peace that we want to prevail, the fairness that we want to prevail will become their objective.”

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