Former President John Agyekum Kufuor says the tenet of balance and fairness in Journalism practice is a key virtue and must be constantly upheld.
He said journalists had the obligation to always have a sense of balance and strive for accuracy and truth in their Journalism practice.
President Kufour, who made the call when Executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) paid a courtesy call on him at his private residence, said in an information and digital age where the chief agency of information was through the media, it behoved on it to be responsible.
The visit, among other things, was to introduce the new executives of the Association to the former President who over the years has been an advocate and champion of press freedom in Ghana.
President Kufuor said the Association had a responsibility to lead the charge in shaping society and ensuring that journalists went by the tenets of the Journalism profession.
He said: “When you balance your reporting, you enable people to read between the lines, even with the conduct of the Government and institutions.
Balanced reporting in an era of fake news helps society generally to exact accountability from where it must exact without endangering the system through sensationalism and unjustified reportage. It is a very serious thing.”
“As watch dogs, you must hold the government accountable to ensure that it does the right thing for society. That is a justified approach, but you must also eschew sensationalism,” he added.
A sense of balance and fairness, he stated, was crucial in every endeavour and profession and that in seeking accountability from duty bearers, there was a need to also project the positive strides of governments.
The former President admitted that “Governance is a very difficult undertaking. Governing the nation, especially at our stage of development is not easy with the current world of complexity,” he said.
Touching on the theme for this year’s GJA Media Awards slated for November 12: “Walking the Path Towards Economic Recovery: The Role of the Media”, President Kufour said with the forces of geopolitics, no nation was an island in the current world.
“When I say this, I don’t mean even where the managers of State have not been efficient, that must not be reported. By all means, report the inefficiencies.
Report where for instance the government has not taken many factors into consideration in adopting or trying to implement a policy.
But even as you do that, you must also bring on board the people generally to appreciate the realities to enable them to make an independent assessment of the performance of the Government.
President Kufuor said, “If you do not do this with a sense of balance but rather allow yourselves to be influenced by profits, then you may be selling the society short.’’
Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, President, GJA, who led the Executives on the visit, commended the former President for his leadership, commitment to nation building and unwavering support for the Association over the years.