Mr Roland Affail Monney, President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has urged journalists to sharpen their focus on peace journalism, as their contribution to the sustainability of peace and tranquillity in the country.
Mr Monney said focusing on peace journalism would entail the constitution of stories, which would promote peace and not violence, as well as tilting of stories and shaping of media programmes in non-violence ways.
He said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-lines of a three-day collaborative dialogue and sensitization on preventing violent extremism organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the governments of Netherlands and Sweden at Prampram in the Greater Accra Region.
He said, “when it comes to violence, no institution can be more insidious than the media.
“It is said that information and the structures which contributes to information are the most dangerous instruments for violence, the example in Rwanda is a classic example, where it took a careless journalist who went to a careless station to make a careless pronouncement, which ignited violence of incalculable proportions, which resulted in the death of a lot of people over one million people.”
Mr Monney noted that because violence commenced from the mind, overloading the minds of media consumers with violent scenes could lead to such violence extremism, explaining that the law of exposure simple indicated that whatever repeatedly entered the mind shaped the mind, and determined what one does and became.
“So, if we highlight such incidents and blows them out of proportion without caution, we are contributing to violence,” he said.
The GJA President stressed that, “it’s better to face facts. Sometimes the media are overly careless in carrying stories, which consequences can spell the doom of this country.
“And if you look at our elections the high voltage tempers, and the red-hot angers that characterizes our election, they are pointers to the fact that violence on a disastrous scale can erupt in Ghana.
“So, the media again are crucial factor in all these, so, we should be conscious on whatever we put there, we must think through and weigh the implications of whatever items we bundle about and discuss,” he added.
He commended the UNDP and its partners for organizing the engagement, saying it came at the right time to strike the right code for the generality of Ghanaians and the media in particular, to play a crucial role to mitigate such effects or prevent it all together.
Mr Monney observed that even though Ghana touted itself as an island of peace in an atmosphere of violence or instability, citizens should never be intoxicated by this experience as they were living in a sub region whose dominant theme was violence extremism.