The Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), George Sarpong, is asking Ghanaian journalists to be guided by their own reputation in their pursuit for the news.

Contributing to a discussion on the state of the Ghanaian media on the Status Quo, a current affairs programme on Multi TV on Sunday, Mr. Sarpong said current accusations by sections of the public about journalists dwelling on sleazy reports with the aim of undermining the reputation of persons in the society, could be avoided if only those journalists are equally sensitive to their own reputation built over a period of practice.

He said the basic values that define human dignity including integrity, honesty, hardwork and respect for society values, are extremely essential to the growth of the journalism profession in the country and journalists should be seen aspiring to achieve that.

“You can train on skills but if you deal with people who have very little regard for their own dignity, there is very little that you can do to improve that. Sometimes when you see some of the things that some of our colleagues do, the first question that comes to you is; does this person value his own reputation?”

Mr. Sarpong continued that the quality of reports covered in the media could be greatly improved when reporters are reminded of the importance of sticking to the principles of cross checking their facts before going public with it.

Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, former deputy editor of the BBC African Service, who was also on the show said as much as reputation is important to the profession, the best journalists who have brought down corrupt governments are no angels. She said most of them are “utter rogues” who stack to the ethics of their calling. She however stressed the importance of quality training for journalists as the best shot.

In furtherance of the call for more training for journalists on the job, George Sarpong appealed to the government to assist the media. He said as the government continues to create the enabling environment for private businesses to thrive in order to stimulate the economy; the media appear to have been left out in this regard and it is only appropriate that their (government) searchlight is also focused on the media’s efforts to help build a healthy and prosperous country.

Haruna Attah, Editor of the Mail newspaper, also appealed to corporate bodies to support the media especially the private ones to help them grow so as to attract the best quality materials to their fold.

He appealed to private businesses to size up funding for their corporate social responsibility by channeling part of the funds to the development of the media.

“You build a borehole there; you build a maternity ward there but then also help democracy to grow. And for democracy to grow the media is very important and when democracy grows and there is stability, your businesses are also stable and you make the profit. If that is done, then we can start weeding out poor quality media.”

Story by Osabutey Anny/Multi TV

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