Most Rev Charles Palmer-Buckle
The Metropolitan Archbishop of the Accra Diocese of the Catholic Church, the Most Rev Charles Palmer-Buckle, has advised the media to apply their gate-keeping role to ensure that negative sentiments spewed out by politicians are not repeated to the people as a way of sustaining the country’s peace and stability.
Launching the first-ever Code of Conduct for Election 2012 for the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) in Accra Tuesday, the Most Rev Palmer-Buckle noted that “when somebody says something, how I wish the media would harp on the value of what the person is putting out there and not continually repeat the negative statements abinitio (to the point of nausea)”.
He said, despite the ugly noises in some parts of the media, coupled with reports of flashes and tension created in some portions of the country, it was his belief that Ghana was maturing politically, socially and economically, adding that “what we need is for us to look at the positive things that are happening proactively”.
The 13-page code of conduct, dubbed: “Code of Conduct for Ghana Election 2012, Responsible Reportage for Broadcasters”, was funded by STAR-Ghana.
Some of the 18 articles cover areas of professionalism, party broadcast, objectionable broadcast materials, bribery and corruption, opinion polls, hate, incitement and insulting speech, voter education, good conduct commitment by political talk show panellists and non-compliance and sanctions.
Some of the sanctions include a fine of GH¢1,000, suspension of membership and expulsion from GIBA as well.
The Most Rev Palmer-Buckle, who told the gathering that he was incurably a religious person, quoted Romans 10:15, which reads in part, “...how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news”, to support his assertion that even the Bible enjoined the media to preach the good news.
He said any media house or practitioner who repeated the bad and inciteful utterances of others was only exposing his or her true nature.
He complained that one of the good things that happened in the country recently was when youth leaders of the political parties met and signed a memorandum of understanding to protect the peace before, during and after the elections but that positive news never found space on the front pages of newspapers and on the airwaves.
The Most Rev Palmer-Buckle said the decision by GIBA to veer into the realm of self-censorship was a great boost for Ghana, adding that nothing negative would happen to Ghana because the country had gone through five successive elections and would enrich its enviable position as Africa’s beacon of hope by coming out united after the 2012 elections.
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr Ransford Tetteh, wondered why media practitioners found it very easy to hold political office holders and others accountable but failed woefully to be responsible for their actions in the field of duty.
He said the enjoyment of freedom of expression demanded responsibility and expressed the hope that members of GIBA would abide by their code of conduct in the execution of their profession.
Source: Daily Graphi