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The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has urged the media to exhibit some restraint in its investigative and anti-corruption reportage.
The GJA, in a statement, signed by its President, Affail Monney, said journalists engaging in investigative reporting must be “strictly guided by ethical values and especially the GJA code of Ethics.”
It called for the stories in this field to be balanced and that “all facts must be fully verified before they are thrown into the public domain,” because the reputation of individuals and institutions was at stake.
Their call comes in the wake of the Jospong Group, owners of, Zoomlion and other subsidiaries, having to deny claims that it inflated the cost of a contract it had with the Mahama government to supply waste bins.
The group, in a statement copied to citifmonline.com, said the media platforms that carried the allegations, must apologize or risk being challenged to provide ample evidence to substantiate the claims.
The association acknowledged the importance of this brand of reportage but urged “extreme caution and circumspection in order not to pronounce certain people guilty in the media whereas any court of competent jurisdiction hasn’t even tried them.”
“Such trial by the media can inflict serious reputational injury and cause devastating harm to their businesses that could ultimately have adverse effects on the Ghanaian economy. It can also ignite a backlash in the form of suits or legal wrangling from aggrieved persons,” the statement said.
The GJA’s release further said: “We should also be mindful of using the media to wage a smear campaign against individuals especially local businesses and personalities who have made a substantial contribution to the growth of the economy…”
“That is why the GJA has always advised against the trial of people in the media as it has serious implications for media freedom and responsible journalism but to rather focus on the principles of fairness, balance, and accuracy in their reportage,” it added.
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