The director of the Catholic Media Center/CAMCAM, Rev. Fr. Ambrose Dayouga Kroma, has urged Liberian journalists and media institutions to stop being foot-soldiers of propaganda and the promotion of selfish interests.
They should instead adhere to principles and the ethics of journalism and better serve the human and national interests.
Rev. Fr. Kroma made the statement yesterday at the opening of a one-day training workshop for journalists and editorial staff of Radio VERITAS.
The workshop focused on the ethics and standards in journalism.
Whenever media institutions are manipulated by self-interests and personal aggrandizement, good journalists will inadvertently, do damage when they report controversial and sensational stories out of context, said Fr. Kroma.
According to him, failure to maintain ethical principles in the newsroom and poor understanding of the potential impact of the powerful effect of words and images can lead to acts of journalism that encourage hatred, violence, discrimination as well as social and economic injustice, and the lack of peace.
The Catholic Media Center director said: “You will agree with me that the news room in Liberia today, like in any other country, is a very challenging place. For in the competitive world of the modern media, information flies around at lightning speed. There is little time for checking facts and images or confirming information and virtually no space for laid back discussions on the ethics of journalism.”
It is within this conviction that management in an effort to rebrand radio VERITAS in terms of content, outlook, and human-centered programming, has embarked on the second of a series of workshops focusing on journalistic ethics, Rev.Fr. Kroma disclosed.
“I hope that through this workshop, a clearer understanding of the station’s mission statement and editorial policy as laid down by the Catholic Church will be understood and serve as a guiding principle in our effort to educate the public and promote the social, economic, moral and spiritual well being of our society,” he declared.
Despite the scarcity of time, he strongly believes that given the vital role and importance of credible information to peace building in post conflict Liberia, reporters and editors must pause and take a moment to judge the potential impact of offensive, divisive and inflammatory news content.
Failure to give due consideration to this delicate act of managing and balancing information in journalism can result to tragic consequences, he warned.