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General News
Bishop calls on journalists to transform Ghanaian society 8/20/2007
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, The Most Rev. Charles G. Palmer-Buckle, has called on Ghanaian journalists to “form, in-form and trans-form the individual and society".

The clergyman was speaking at the 12th Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Awards night held on Saturday August 18.

Archbishop Palmer-Buckle himself a journalist and one time editor of the Catholic Standard spoke on the topic, “Ghana at 50: Safeguarding Democracy through the Media.”

Quoting from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah in the Bible which reads, “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the down-trodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.” Isaiah 61:1-2.

He likened the role of the media to that of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah. He said the journalist like the prophet was expected to be the conscience of the nation, the watchman that the Lord God had placed on the watchtower of Ghana, to watch over the citizens of the nation, especially the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.

The Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle said “the media practitioner, like the prophet must be the one who knows that he or she is accountable to a higher being than to any particular factions of the Ghanaian society”.

At the ceremony, 10 journalists and two media organizations were honoured in different categories for their distinguished performance in media practice in 2006.

The Catholic Bishop said the realization that journalists were accountable to a higher being would enable them to perform their duty to the individual, to the society, to government and the governed as well without blemish.

He said the objective of journalism was “to bring love, unity and order, peace and prosperity, freedom and justice, in fact the total well being of all”.

He said by so doing, journalists could communicate that culture of life and civilization of the love the Lord god required of them for the good of the country, whose democracy they were safeguarding.

The Most Rev Palmer-Buckle likened media practitioners to prophets of God, who were expected to proclaim good news to the poor, liberty to captives of all forms of injustices and new sight to the politically, culturally and intellectually blind and set the oppressed, the marginalized and the downtrodden of the society free.

He said although the traditional role of the media was to inform, educate and entertain, he wondered whether or not journalists were performing their roles as expected.

"What are our children, our students and young people, the masses, learning from our TV programmes, adverts and news items, virtues or vices?" he asked.

"The media practitioner in Ghana today must be a person who is guided by nobility and the quest for virtue, particularly by the supreme good of the people to whom he/she has been sent," the Archbishop added.

The Most Rev Palmer-Buckle said I• the traditional role of the media to inform, educate and entertain should be reformulated to read ''to form, to in-form and to trans-form'' the individual as well as the Ghanaian society.

He expressed concern about the banner headlines in the dailies in the recent months, all of which focused on murder, cocaine, accidents, armed robbery, and violence among chieftaincy factions and questioned why the media should give such prominence and great publicity to vice and crime.

He said there were more virtuous persons living and several heroic activities taking place in the country and cautioned the media to be careful not to teach vice inadvertently to the children and youth.

"It is our duty to weigh the ultimate result and impact of our publications vis-à-vis the greater good of the persons, the institutions and the nation at large in deciding what to inform the public with or in our media presentations," he said.

As the nation progressed after the 50th year anniversary, Most Rev Palmer-Buckle tasked the media to help to transform the image of the country and the image Ghanaians had of themselves.

"It is quite painful to see how Ghanaians seem to have rather very little self-worth and confidence, and turn to run everything Ghanaian down for anything foreign. Our sense of patriotism seems to have sunk so very low in the last two or three decades. We need to whip up patriotism in our fellow Ghanaians.

"How I wish the media practitioners will make it a specifically deliberated and chosen agenda to help transform every Ghanaian into a real patriot, one ready to live, serve and die for Ghana," he added.

Source: Daily Graphic

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