Mr George Amoh, Acting Executive Secretary, National Peace Council, has called on journalists to report conflicts in a manner that would promote peace at all times.
The Journalist covering a conflict must present accurate and impartial facts but must avoid poisonous facts which could exacerbate the conflict.
Mr Amoh, who was the Lead trainer at a training session for journalists of the Ghana News Agency, on conflict sensitive reporting, urged journalists to be always guided by the basic principles of journalism which included truth, accuracy, loyalty the public, independence and accountability.
He said the media was often the most important channel of communication between parties in conflicts and journalists must present a realistic yet tactical construction of news as parties were informed about the challenges of each other towards reconciliation.
He said “the journalist, who does that, can help educate each side to avoid demands for simplistic immediate solutions.”
Mr Amoh said journalists must also try to get closer to the truth as much as possible, serve the public interest, avoid being influenced by external forces, be ready to report what was factual and report conflicts in a manner that protected the rights of all parties concerned.
He stated that journalists must also avoid fear mongering such as the use of words like “devastations, tragedy, horrors” to describe what must have happened to one of the parties in the conflict.
“A conflict sensitive journalist applies conflict analysis and research that bring out perspectives about ongoing conflicts that reduce violence. He or she reports on who is helping to resolve an ongoing conflict, and choose his words carefully”
“Use the opportunity you have to build confidence, since the lack of trust is a major factor contributing to conflicts. You have the opportunity to help build bridges and to build consensus,” he said.
He urged journalists to read more, expose themselves, be broad and open minded, ready to learn things that were new and to unlearn some of the things you have learnt earlier in life, so that together we keep the peace in the country.
“We have to jealously guard the peace that the country is enjoying, let us continue the path of setting the standards in all aspects of our reporting even more importantly, our conflict reporting mechanism, that way, we will be fulfilling not only our professional and social responsibilities, but also our global responsibilities,” he said.
Mrs Beatrice Savage, Director of Editorial, Ghana News Agency, said the training session formed part of Ghana News Agency’s preparations towards the coverage of the December general elections and thanked the Peace Council’s Executive Secretary for the valuation lessons on conflict reporting.