Journalists have been urged to ensure that they do not lose the trust and confidence of the public.
“The respect and confidence of the public is the best protection for the media. The moment we lose the confidence of the public, we lose our integrity.”
Mr. Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), said this at the Town Hall Meeting on Media and Corruption in Ghana.
Speaking on the theme, “Assessing the Performance of the Media in Fighting Corruption in Ghana: Two years into Akufo-Addo’s Administration,” Mr. Braimah said journalists had to realise that the public expected the them to ensure that their rights, as enshrined in the Constitution of the country, were well guaranteed and protected.
He said if journalists earned the respect of the public through accurate and objective reportage, they would in effect be ensuring their own security.
Touching on the fight against corruption by journalists, Mr Braimah said presently, journalists in Ghana could do a lot more in the fight against corruption, unlike during certain periods in the past, when journalists faced persecution such as arrest and imprisonment.
“Journalists such as Kweku Baako and Kwesi Pratt have in the past fought what they perceived to be wrong, even when it was quite unsafe to do so,” he said, adding that it was unfortunate that despite the current liberal atmosphere where journalists were free to do their job, coupled with a much larger number of media houses and journalists, much was not being done to expose corruption.
Mr Braimah said some media houses, for example, would only report on corruption in government, depending on which political party was in power.
The MFWA Executive Director said there was the need for the media itself to ensure that there was no corruption among its ranks.
He said it was only when the media did this that it could effectively fight corruption in the country.
Mrs Linda Ofori Kwafo, Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), said the media had definitely done well in the fight against corruption in the country, “but they can do more.”
She observed that the fact that the media had been the back-bone of Civil Society Organisations in their work against corruption, was highly commendable.
Mrs Kwafo said while the media, within the period under review, had done a lot in the fight against corruption, “some print media houses currently do not report on anything that has to do with corruption.”
She said it was worth noting that a core mandate of the media was to expose corruption, and failure to do so meant a failure on the part of the media to fulfil its mandate.
The GII executive director noted that for the country’s democracy to be sustained, it was important to minimise corruption as much as possible, and journalist had a huge role to play in this quest.
The event was a collaboration between the Media Foundation for West Africa and Citi FM.