Dr Mensan Mawugbe, Founder of the Centre for Media Analysis, has called on operators of community radio stations, to let their programming be locally relevant, to create a communal change in their jurisdictions.
He said this would promote unity and cohesion amongst community members, rather than fuel acts that tended to disintegrate them.
Dr Mawugbe made the call in Tamale on Wednesday when he made a presentation at a workshop on Community Journalism, organized by Rural Media Network (RUMNET), a development advocacy and human rights non-governmental organization, with support from the United States Embassy in Ghana.
The two-day workshop was to build the capacity of local radio journalists, drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, in basic community journalism, to enable them meet the information needs of rural communities to promote social inclusion in northern Ghana, especially in local governance.
Dr Mawugbe said content or programming by community radio stations should relate to the needs of audience, which would engender community participation in the issues discussed.
He was not happy that community radio stations had failed to project issues affecting their localities, and urged them to involve community members in their programming, as well as avoid politicization of local events.
He urged community radio stations to work to energize local enterprises, by highlighting their activities to boost sales and increase incomes.
He said ?the notion that community journalism does not sell is untrue, ? and called for innovation and connectedness of the stories to the needs of the local people, to make community journalism interesting to its practitioners.
Dr Mawugbe also suggested the formation of community journalists network, to entrench a new journalism thinking in the context of community approach in radio programming by community radio stations.
Ms Jeane Clark, Information Officer at the United States Embassy in Ghana, said the Embassy recognized the unique role of community radio stations, which included focusing on the needs of local people, hence supporting the workshop.
Mr Abdallah Kassim, Executive Director of RUMNET, said ?Third World Countries, like Ghana, need community journalism the most, because rural communities need to participate fully in the democratic process.?
Mr Kassim said practising community journalism would encourage discussion of citizen?s views and issues, using a wide range of community perspectives, adding, ?Community Journalism provides diverse news sources and enriches news content and programming.
He urged community journalists to change from ?Journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news; journalism that uses eye-catching headlines to sell exaggerated news events, scandal-mongering and sensationalism.?