We must make it clear that it is not our intention to sit in judgment of our professional colleagues. What we seek to do is to remind journalists of their Hippocratic Oath to uphold the truth, facts and fairness in the discharge of their duties.
Indeed, the Fourth Republican Constitution on the Freedom and Independence of the Media has elaborate provisions about journalism practice.
We are mindful of Article 162(4) of our Constitution that directs thus, “Editors and publishers of newspapers and other institutions of the mass media shall not be subject to control or interference by Government, nor shall they be penalised or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications.”
This provision, however, does not grant the media absolute freedom to say or write anything without respecting other people’s freedom, dignity and reputation as well as national interest and national security.
In addition to these provisos, the media is enjoined to respect its ethical and professional standards such as balance, fairness and accuracy in the discharge of their duties.
Nobody has made us watchdog over the media and neither have we elected to do so, but so long as we are abreast of our responsibilities under our Constitution, we keep drawing the attention of journalists who cross the red line. We also support a cause, thus every media house has the right to align and in the exercise of that choice, all journalists must be balanced, fair and accurate in their reportage instead of championing fake news and propaganda that put the public weal at risk.
We do not believe in a docile press and by extension the culture of silence. That does not mean we endorse reckless and irresponsible reportage by the media. Certainly, the media must hold the government to account to the people, but we expect that that national duty would be executed with professionalism at the centre.
That task must not be impeded by those who pervert honest criticism into falsification of facts. The tendency among some media houses is to put together some commentators masquerading as neutral or independent observers, but who are actually doing the bidding of the regime-change agents.
So these media houses are impeded by self-styled experts either in economics, politics, governance and security who foist their agenda on the people. We warn the people against a few bogus patriots on national television and radio who use the sacred freedom of the press to echo the sentiments of the Goebbels in the NDC.
We can assure our compatriots that the selfish agenda to derail the state would not succeed by a few selfish and handful noisy traitors and betrayers of Islam and Christianity who have yielded to ethnic and religious bigotry in support of the NDC’s agenda to return to the Jubilee House.
To the government in power, we have for you a simple counsel. There is no room, no reason, above all no time, for anything but unity and teamwork to ‘break the eight’ through the indomitable will of the people and the determination of the party supporters because the alternative is inconsistent and indecisive.
John Mahama just announced the 24-hour economy, receiving applause from some quarters, but the proponent himself keeps shifting the goalpost ever since.
The media must guide the people to make informed choices during Election 2024, and that is why the National Media Commission (NMC) must whip all media houses to be up to the highest journalistic standards.