The Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has charged the media to be guided by the ethics of their profession as they go about their reportage.
He made the call when he received members of the Judicial Press Corps on Wednesday (15 December) as part of efforts aimed at engaging with stakeholders of the Attorney General’s Department.
“Your work should not be taken for granted at all. It goes very far, it has the tendency to take you very far if you take it seriously. I will also say that your role is very critical to justice delivery in the country. I will just say that while you have been recognised formally by the Judicial Service, you should also know that there are rules of the game,” Dame said.
He added: “The rules of the game essentially relate to the ethics of the profession, you should know that your report should be accurate, it should be fair, and it should be objective, once you have all these standards; the hallmark of good reportage being accuracy, fairness, objectivity, once you have them in your report I think that you would have discharged your duties to society as fairly as possible.”
Dame further indicated that while he will be reluctant to cite any media practitioner or media house for contempt, he may be constrained to do so if media practitioners engage in what he said may be deep excesses in their reportage.
Respect rights of accused
“In that regard I would entreat you once again to ensure that the rights of accused persons to a fair trial are protected through proper and discreet reportage as accused persons below the age of 18 years. When they are standing trial, they definitely have a right to some protection in accordance with the law, so you should be mindful of women who are complainants in cases of rape and defilement.
“If you do not abide by the ethics of the profession there’s a consequence, there is a penalty for you to pay, the rules of contempt of court are there to deal with excesses in the media profession. I will be very reluctant to cite any media practitioner for contempt, but of course I’ve been constrained to do so in my practice whether in private practice or public service and definitely in account of deep excesses in reportage. I do not think that such incidences ought to be repeated, you can easily avoid it and the way to avoid it is to be accurate, fair and objective,” he said.
On his part, the Dean of the Judicial Press Corps, Wilberforce Asare, noted that the press corps is committed to abiding by the ethics of the profession. He appealed to the AG to help bridge the information gap that exists between the department and the Media.