The DPC is a statutory body established under the Data Protection Act (Act 843) of 2012, to protect the privacy, regulate personal data, process personal information and provide for the process to obtain, hold, use or disclose personal information and for other related issues bothering on the protection of personal data.
It therefore aims at increasing the number of data protection responsiveness who collects and uses personal information such as the media, increase individuals’ awareness of data protection rights, and empowers them to assert the rights.
The training, which attracted editors, reporters, producers and some programme directors from the various media organisations, also provided a platform for the Commission to build a strategic partnership with the media as key stakeholders to ensure enhanced public education and the smooth enforcement of the Data Protection Act.
Mrs Teki Akuetteh Falconer, Executive Secretary of the DPC, said a large amount of personal data generated in Ghana was kept in information systems that posed considerable challenges to the right to privacy.
The trend, she said, continue to grow rapidly with sophisticated technology among other things making it necessary to address privacy concerns with data protection laws.
According to her, Data Collectors are required to strictly observe the principles under the DPA that requires accountability, lawful data processing, specification of purpose, compatibility of further processing with the purpose of collection, quality of information, openness, data security safeguards and data subject participation, in their collection, use and storage of information.
Mrs Falconer said the Act does not prevent press freedom, but rather places a high journalistic responsibility on practitioners, to prevent abuses of the right to privacy, though it exempted the media from most provisions in appropriate cases among other things.
She urged media organisations to be responsible for ensuring that their processing procedures whether in-house or through a data processor has legal clarifications to ensure that personal data is processed in accordance with the data protection principles, to avoid the risk of facing prosecution or having to pay for huge compensation claims to individuals for the breech of their privacy.
Mrs Falconer said for those reasons, organisations should choose data processors carefully and have in place effective means of monitoring, reviewing and auditing their processing.
The DPC, she said would work closely with the Ghana Journalists Association, in the review of its Code of Ethics to make it more binding.
Mr George Sarpong, the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission, acknowledged that journalism thrives on data and the right to information, but journalists should be mindful of the total liability and be committed to stand to protect the privacy of individuals.
He also cautioned the public to be mindful of volunteering information about themselves without asking questions or thinking about the consequences.
Mr Sarpong explained that this is dangerous as criminals could easily use such information negatively to cause harm and damage to them using current sophisticated technological software and appliances to track their movements.
He urged the media to get acquainted with the Act so that they could engage actively with the DPC in educating the public on their data protection rights and also ensure good corporate practices within their organisations.
By Christabel Addo, GNA