Journalists have been advised to move from the information level stories and focus more on impact-based ones that have the potential to educate and create awareness for behaviour change.
Mr Charles Mawusi, the Media and Communications Consultant of the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) Voice for Change (V4C) project, gave the advice during a two-day media training workshop in Wa.
He said journalists have a strong role and responsibility towards society and could achieve that only by focusing on doing stories that highlighted the impact and implications of government policies and programmes on the people.
Mr Mawusi said behaviour change communication hinged on law enforcement but unfortunately in Ghana that appeared not effective, hence the need for journalists to focus their reportage on education and awareness creation so as to succeed in appealing to the emotions of the people.
He said such impact-based stories would not only stimulate the necessary action from both the people and policy makers but would also earn journalists the necessary recognition and rewards.
He, therefore, urged them to begin to develop the analytic mentality that would enable them to analyse the impact of all government policies, programmes and projects on the people.
Mr Mawusi said the information level stories defeated the agenda setting role of the media, making them propaganda tools for the powerful in society, including politicians, to take advantage of and use it against the weak and vulnerable they were accountable to.
“If the media accept programmes and policies without being analytical and constructively critical of them in order to point out their impact whether positive of negative, then they would be doing a great disservice to society and the media role of being the voice of the voiceless would also be defeated,” he said.
Mr Eric Banye, the Country Coordinator of the SNV V4C Project, said the media were critical to the project success, hence the workshop, which aims to provide additional information on Food and Nutrition Security, Resilience and Renewable Energy, and Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH).
He said the media needed to have up-to-date information on the project so as to educate the public through frequent discussions of those topics to change attitudes and behaviours.