Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, has advised the media to be responsible in the coverage of crises and conflicts to prevent the escalation of such situations.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah, speaking at a media engagement in Ho, therefore, urged the media to be circumspect, truthful and factual in their reportage.
The programme was organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the National Media Commission (NMC) in the wake of criminal activities of a group calling itself “secessionists” in the Volta Region.
He commended the media in the Region for showing high level of professionalism regarding the “secessionists group,” asking them to continue to uphold the interest of the nation and ensure unity.
The Information Minister, also the Member of Parliament for Ofoase-Ayirebi, said the Government was undertaking capacity building programmes for journalists to sharpen their skills and ensure professionalism.
He admonished morning show hosts to profile their panellists properly and engage historians, academics and experts when discussing issues of national interests to educate the public better and avoid heightening tension.
Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, the Chairman of the National Media Commission, said journalists found themselves in the middle of competing issues, influences and interests and that they should be neutral and work towards the national interest at all times.
“Maintain your neutrality and don’t listen to what everyone is saying but listen to the majority voice, which always turn out to be the voice of God,” he said.
“Language is critical to communication to express sentiments but use it to build togetherness and understand there is only one Ghana and the country we are fighting for.”
Mr George Sarpong, the Executive Secretary, NMC, entreated journalists to be cautious about achieving balance between truth and the national interest, which were delicate discourse to navigate.
He admonished journalists to avoid giving legitimacy to “branded criminal gangsters,” which gave them such media space to propagate their nefarious and parochial agenda.
Mr Affail Monney, the President of the GJA, said the Association was monitoring developments regarding the activities of the ‘’secessionists” in the Region and called on the media to be fair, balanced, accurate and objective in their reportage.
He said the GJA was demanding from journalists to show addiction to the fundamental principles and values of the journalism practice.
Article Two of GJA Code of Ethics emphasised that the journalist must tell the truth at all times, however, the cardinal principle in journalism, which stated that the truth of a matter was not enough justification for saying it, must guide journalists on the importance to be nationalistic at all times, he said.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, said the Region was ready for business and urged all development partners and investors to get on board to invest in the peaceful region.
He said the Volta Region had become part of the 16 administrative regions of the country and nothing could take away any part of it, reassuring that the security apparatus of the country were on top of the issue.
Mr Anthony-Bells Kafui Kanyi, Volta Regional Chairman of GJA, described the engagement as timely, assuring that the practitioners would use their platforms to promote national integration and cohesion.
He said the “secessionist group” and other members of the society had been mounting pressure on the media since 2017 to provide coverage for their activities and on few occasions came under serious verbal attacks for declaring blackouts on the groups.
Mr Kanyi said the media was on top of issues despite those challenges among others like chieftaincy, religious, ethnic and land disputes, intra and inter political party conflicts.
He said they would continue to soldier on to keep the unity of the Region and country intact.