Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has admonished journalists and media practitioners in the country to as much as is possible keep their opinions on matters of national discourse both on social and traditional media.
In the view of the Information Minister, journalists must endeavour to be professional and do a middle line job, this he said can be done by avoiding the tendency to state their opinions on matters that may likely bring their fairness and professionalism to question.
“As a journalist you want to do a straight line middle job, give the facts. The facts as you have checked them and let the analyst do their analysis and let the public make up their mind,” he said.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who was addressing journalists in Bolgatanga at the launch of the Upper East Regional maiden edition of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Awards noted a growing trend where journalists particularly show hosts express their opinions and state their positions on matters yet to be discussed by panelists saying that “I notice that increasingly we are getting into an era where the journalist feels that he must tell the audience what he thinks or what his opinion is on a particular matter. These days you have journalists that at the start of the show, even before they start the discussion they say this is my opinion on this subject. Now step outside the world of journalism to the viewer or listener at home and ask yourself what would he or she begin to think of me if I continuously lace the work with my opinions”.
The one time host of the Super Morning Show on Joy FM further advised journalists to apply in the use of social media the standards that they apply in their line of work on mainstream media.
While describing the advent of social media as a new risk to the journalism profession, he noted that journalists sharing their views on matters of national discourse on social media has a bearing on their work on their radio, newspaper or television platforms.
“You may be sharing or posting or putting a story there on your social media handle and very often when you draw the journalist attention he says but that is my private Facebook wall. But you are in a position of public trust, when people listen to you after a while on radio or on TV or read your articles they don’t distinguish between your private life and your public life. So the views and the things that you put there, they are not different from what you put on your radio or your television. The market does not distinguish between that. It is your brand and there is a brand synergy between that brand on social media and that brand on television,” he added.
He further called on journalists to allow deeper analysis by experts on subject matters so that the consuming public can only hear the facts from the journalist and hear the expert analysis to enable them make up their mind.
“As much as is possible, you may want to keep your opinion and give the facts and let the public make up their mind,” he advised.