President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has admonished all media practitioners in the country to continue to ensure that their reportage on the Coronavirus pandemic is truthful and accurate.
Describing the media as “a formidable ally”, President Akufo-Addo noted that the media has so far been helpful in the informing and educating the citizenry about the pandemic, and the steps that have to be taken to combat it, as well as discharging their roles as ‘vehicles of accountability’.
However, “one thing that is important is that, as much as possible, there should be accuracy in what you convey. That is critical.”
The President made this known on Friday, 24th April, 2020, when he met with the leadership of the National Media Commission, the Ghana Journalists Association, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana, as well as the leadership of State-Owned media organisations on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst acknowledging the existence of different perspectives, different views and conclusions, he stated that “the truth, the accuracy of what is relayed is very, very critical, especially in an emergency of this nature where the slightest misinformation or inaccuracy or misinterpretation can lead to a lot of grief and difficulty.”
He continued, “It is important that the facts be accurate because, if they aren’t, they generate an amount of uncertainty and fear in the society that is not helpful for the management of this crisis.”
Speaking on behalf of the media, the Chairperson of the National Media Commission, and responding to the President, Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh told the President that, since the onset of the pandemic in Ghana, the NMC issued a statement that was both admonishing and appealing.
“What we said was that this is not time for anybody to crack jokes. This is not time for anybody to produce fake news. Particularly, it is not time for those of us in the mainstream media to pick any social media content that comes across, because one of the fundamental things that we the media need to understand is the fact that you do not put out any information whose source you cannot verify and confirm, whose veracity you cannot acknowledge,” he said.
This practice, he stressed, will only endanger the lives of the citizenry, and will be inimical to the development of the country.
“Other people can make jokes of our situation, but, if there should be any jokes, it should not come from the media, because we have a responsibility not only to ourselves but to the people of this country. We are the only ones who do not go to the people for their mandate,” the NMC boss added.
He continued, “Please, let us take our responsibility seriously, and let us give faith to those who have reposed their trust in us, even though they cannot vote us in or out. Let them continue to keep faith with us and understand that we will always do what is right. When the time demands, we will never fail them.”