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Ghanaian Media Needs Education On Suicide Reporting – IAMMAIA-Africa

The Executive Director of the Institute of Africa Media Monitoring Intelligence and Advocacy (IAMMIA-Africa), Dr Messan Mawugbe says the Ghanaian media lacks ethics and professionalism in suicide news reporting and need to be giving more education.

According to Dr. Mawugbe, ninety percent of news on suicide news reported daily by the media goes contrary to the ethics and standards of suicide news publication.

Dr. Messan Mawugbe made the observation when speaking on media ethics and standard at the launch of research findings in suicide news reporting by IAMMIA-Africa in Accra on Tuesday.

“About 90% of suicide news publications by the Ghanaian media according to the research IAMMIA-Africa conducted lacked ethics and standards. The international standards and ethics on suicide news reporting requires that, the picture of the victim shouldn’t be present in the publication, exact location of the suicide incidence should be avoided, victim’s note presentation should be avoided and many more, but it is sadden to note that, all these mentioned were found in various news publications by the Ghanaian media” he said.

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He said IAMMIA-Africa considering the manner by which the Ghanaian media report on suicide news in the country took research into Media Ethics and Standards in reporting suicide news by the Ghanaian media especially, the print but was disappointed that, journalists in the country do not adhere to the international ethical standards governing suicide news publication.

He said the institute used fourteen (14) different news papers including the states own media; Daily Graphic and the Ghanaian Times to monitor how news gatekeepers give prominence to suicide news reporting on their editorials, front pages, and the effects it has on the country.

Results of the findings of the research according to Dr. Mawugbe reveals that, many of the news publications on suicide reported in the various papers had fifty (50) percent premature affirmation, hundred percent lack of sensitivity to victim’s family, ninety percent sensational, sixty percent victim’s picture presence sand fifty-five percent cultural breach.

The results he said also shows that, editors gave prominence to suicide by placing it on front page and editorials by sixty percent and ninety-five percent respectively.

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Presenting the report to the media and the general public, on the theme, Media ethics and Standards: suicide news reporting denting Ghana’s image? Dr. Mawugbe said the lack of professionalism and non appliance of ethics and standards in journalism when reporting on suicide has affected Ghana negatively which take many years to save the country.

He said recently the vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Owusu Oduro was reported to have said that; foreign students shun Ghana’s universities over the unprofessional suicide reports by the media.

“Just recently, the Vice- Chancellor of the Ghana’s premier university, professor Ebenezer Owusu Oduro in one of the news papers complained of how the negative reports of suicide have affected the country. According to Professor Owusu Oduro, international students are running away from Ghana’s universities all because issues of suicide news reports are not handled well. So something needs to be done immediately to address this” Dr. Mawugbe stated.

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He however pledge the support of IAMMIA-Africa to train the media on the ethics and standards regarding suicide news reporting to improve in the capacity of the media to handle such delicate issues of the nation and called on the national media commission (NMC), the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) among other bodies to support IAMMIA-Africa in that course.

“This occasion offers us opportunity as partners in the media fraternity to deliberate, and share ideas on how to improve on professionalism in suicide news reporting. It is therefore my appeal to related agencies to join and support IAMMIA-Africa to improve upon media ethics and standards in the context of suicide news reporting” he explained.

IAMMIA-Africa is a non-governmental organization operating with Africa in Media monitoring and Intelligence Advocacy aims at improving quality news reportage through constant scrutiny and capacity training for journalists and media personnel with its headquarters at Adenta in Accra of Ghana.