The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has today, Thursday, March 13, 2014, launched a project dubbed “Promoting Professional Standards and Enhancing the Watchdog Role of the Ghanaian Media”. The project will promote professional standards and enhance the influence and watchdog role of the Ghanaian media through support of critical or investigative stories that can prompt policy debates and/or actions at all levels of governance. The project is funded by STAR-Ghana.
Prior to the launch, the MFWA held a forum on finding the balance between press freedom and press responsibility. The panelists for the forum were Professor Audrey Gadzekpo of the University of Ghana School of Communication Studies; Mr Kwesi Gyan-Apenteng, President of the Ghana Association of Writers and a member of the National Media Commission (NMC); and Mr Nii Laryea Sowah Kenteman, the Executive Secretary of the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG).
In his opening address, the Executive Director of MFWA, Mr Sulemana Braimah, asked the media to exercise their duties while keeping in mind that they have a responsibility to be ethical. He cited the role the Rwandan radio played in the genocide of the 1990s. Professor Gadzekpo asked that the code of ethics that the Ghana Journalists Association has for its members should be used by journalists as a guide in carrying out their duties. Mr Gyan-Apenteng asked for the establishment of an ombudsman system in media houses. He proposed that a senior journalist of each media house, should be trained in ethics and s/he would then take charge of ethics in the media house as a form of internal regulation. He also asked for the NMC to be properly funded, and revealed that members of the NMC had not been paid for nine months. Mr Kenteman of PRINPAG, criticised the quality of people brought in for in-studio discussions on radio and television stations. He also asked that since the radio and television stations used newspapers to set the pace of their discussions, they ought to pay the newspapers some fee.
The actual launch of the project was done by Professor Gadzekpo. She praised the initiative of the MFWA and asked that monitoring of the media should also include the television stations. For details on the project and how to apply for funding, click here. Below are a few tweets from Inform Ghana’s live coverage of the event.