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Fake news is a threat to Ghana’s democracy – UPSA Registrar

The Registrar of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) has stated that the phenomenon of fake news is not only an act of fraud but a peril to Ghana’s democracy that needs to be tackled head-on.

Dr Koryoe Anim-Wright said “the world is currently in a crisis for truth,” and governments around the world are looking for avenues to censor the dissemination of false, misleading and misguided information in the media that have the potential to undermine democratic gains.

Dr Anim-Wright has therefore charged journalists and news organisations to uphold and aspire to professional standards of truth-telling, verification, and ethics of public interest in order to deal with the challenge of fake news.

She stressed that news gatherers especially media outfits should not serve as a conduit for disseminating untruth irrespective of their political ideology.

Dr Anim-Wright issued the clarion call at the second Guest Lecture Series organised by the UPSA Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Studies (FITC) on Wednesday, November 2.

Delivering a lecture on the topic “Ethics in News Reporting: The Post-Truth Era,” the renowned communication specialist said the post-truth era has been fuelled by new technology and the advent of new media.

With clicks becoming the determining factor of advertising revenue, she observed that voices of integrity were being silenced by the proliferation of new media voices on the online space.

She added that “changes in new media and its antecedent impact on news delivery have sharply impacted tried-and-true stalwarts such as accuracy and ethics. 

“Today, from bloggers to tweeters to citizen journalists, the media sphere is a shared one, and many are no longer concerned with the ethics and purpose of journalism.”

Dr Anim-Wright is advocating for ethics-driven journalism, which also seeks to be editorially independent of political and commercial interests, stressing that journalists whose conduct, utterances, and publications flout the ethics of their profession should be called to order.

For her part, the CEO of the Media General Group, Madam Beatrice Agyemang Abbey, opined that Ghana’s media landscape was not immune to the canker of the post-truth era, which continues to witness a surge in misinformation and disinformation.

She said that regrettably, the falling standards of journalism practice have been compounded by the proliferation of sub-standard journalism training institutions as well as the low professional qualification for entry level journalists.

The situation, Beatrice Abbey believes, must be critically assessed in order to change the status quo.

“It is assumed that people who lecture—like doctors, lawyers, and engineers—cannot practice journalism. That is not true. I believe that for where we find ourselves now, we need to get these people into our space for them to share informed knowledge with us.” Dean of FITC, Prof Emmanuel Selase Asamoah, noted that the faculty has been concerned about the falling standards of journalism practice and the seeming lack of adherence to ethics within the media space.

He says the Guest Lecture Series, therefore, provides the academic platform and conducive climate for researchers and resource persons to share their knowledge with the university community and the rest of the world while shaping the thinking of society to help stimulate policy change. The lecture was attended by some high-profile dignitaries from academia, the media, civil society groups, and students.




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