Journalists Schooled on Human Rights
A day’s seminar by Amnesty International for journalists to sharpen their writing skills on human rights issues was held in Accra on Monday.
The seminar, which was on the theme: “Promoting Human Rights in Ghana, the Role of the Media”, is to enhance the capacity of journalists to be able to report fairly and accurately on human rights violations.
Journalists from both state owned and private media organizations were taken through issues on human rights, which included democracy and the rule of law, child prostitution and pornography, violence against children, rights of persons with disabilities, right to education and health, and arbitrary detention.
Mr Frank Doyi, Growth and Activism Coordinator of Amnesty International Ghana, who made a presentation on Human Rights and the Media, said human rights were the same for all human beings regardless of race, sex, religion, ethnicity, politics or other opinions of national and social origin.
He said the media must continue to report on human rights abuses in order to protect people against some of these infractions, as well as hold government accountable.
Mr Doyi said the media must also be persistent in their reportage against impunity and monitor particular abuses in the society.
He identified government power and attitude, and influence of big international corporations as some of the challenges facing human rights reporting in the country.
Mr Vincent Adzahlie-Mensah, Board Chairman, Amnesty International Ghana, who also made a presentation on ‘Reporting and Monitoring Human Rights’, said journalists who intended to investigate human rights issues should be knowledgeable about the law and standards related to the particular human rights violations.
He said journalists should find out exactly what was prohibited under the domestic laws and international human rights standards.
He said where there was the need to have an investigative team the delegation should not be constituted of individuals who may be perceived as partial because of their ethnicity, religion and political affiliation.
Mr Adzahli-Mensah also said journalists who wanted to give correct reports on human rights violations must develop the right contacts to have credible information.
He said contact-building in itself formed large part of the human rights investigation and was vital to human rights documentation.