AN ADVOCACY Communication and Media Consultant, Mrs Eyram Bashan, has said journalism is not a cheap occupation, as many people in Ghana are made to understand but rather, as important as any other profession in the economy.
According to her, many Ghanaians are made to believe that because of the existence of citizen journalism and blogging, journalism is cheap and that every educated man who can read and write can engage in it.
“The fact is that journalism goes beyond citizen journalism and blogging because there are particular skills and credibility matters that real journalists possess that bloggers and others do not,” Mrs Bashan stated.
She made the observations during a Media-Security Dialogue on Violence ahead of the December 7 general elections, organised by Kingdom Concept Consult in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service.
Speaking on the theme; ‘Election Violence, the Role of the Media and Security Agencies, Mrs Basha said it beholds on journalists to consider the peace the country is enjoying before putting up skewed reports that will jeopadize it.
The seasoned journalist said media owners must build capacity of their team of reporters who would be deplored to man the elections, by supporting them with resources, training and motivation to ensure that they don’t cut corners to heighten tension.
She noted that media houses must be provided with both physical and emotional security for their team, editors and media managers should also check the backgrounds of those who would be invited to provide commentaries on their shows because failure to do so does not exempt them from any law suit.
A senior police officer at the Public Affairs Department of the Ghana Police Service, DSP Yaw Nketia-Yeboah said media personnel must stay alive before they can report what happens. For for that matter they, must go to the polls well-dressed and wear media jackets or carry cards for easy identification.
DSP Nketia-Yaboah charged women journalists and voters not to wear skimpy dresses or high heels to voting centers to avoid difficulty in movement in case of any eventuality.
He called on reporters to cross-check information before putting it out and always check facts from the election security taskforce mandated by the Inspector General of Police to give out information to the public.
A senior staff at the Media Foundation for West Africa, Mrs Abigail Larbi at a dialogue session, charged journalists not to allow themselves to be used as tools to forment violence. She advocated for peace journalism before, during and post-election.
The Executive Director of the Institute of Media Practice, Mr John Osei Tutu Agyemang, advised journalist that credibility was more important than rushing with stories and getting facts wrong.
He called on the Police Service to see the media as partners in ensuring peace and harmony since the peace the country is enjoying has become the envy of people across the world.
Speaking to Mrs Princess Skyere Bih, the Executive Director of Kingdom Concept Consult, she said the media, whether international, local, state-owned or private, was an important stakeholder in promoting peace during violence just as the security agencies.