The decline of journalistic principles in Ghana is a cause for concern, as it weakens the fourth estate and erodes the vital role of the media in a democratic society.

This is to mean that, the gradual erosion of journalistic principles, including a decline in proper research, an overreliance on click-bait, a lack of training, and a diminished emphasis on fact-checking, is compromising the vital role of the media as the fourth estate. This article aims to shed light on these issues and advocate for a return to ethical journalism in Ghana.

To begin, The Shift to Superficiality and Quantity over Quality is a big worry; In Recent times, journalism in Ghana seems to prioritize superficial qualities such as appearance and popularity, rather than the substance and depth of reporting.

The industry has become more like a beauty contest, where the focus is on attracting attention and generating high audience numbers, rather than on delivering impactful and informative journalism. This shift threatens to undermine the democratic function of the media by placing style over substance.

Again, The Rise of Click-bait and Shallow Content: In an era dominated by digital media, online portals have emerged as influential sources of news in Ghana. Unfortunately, the success of these platforms often hinges on sensationalism, exaggeration, and misleading headlines.

The pursuit of high click rates and ad revenue has led to a decline in substantive reporting, compromising the quality and accuracy of news content. Journalists must prioritize the public interest by providing reliable and well-researched information rather than resorting to clickbait tactics.

Today in Ghana, journalism is a game of numbers, sad!

Now, this is very unfortunate and worth pointing out. The inability of some media organizations to solidify internal training continues to mirror in the space and is no more a joke. Also, some Freelance journalists, who have become more prevalent in the industry, appear to lack formal training and education from reputable journalism schools.

While the accessibility of the internet and basic electronic devices has democratized information dissemination, it has also allowed inexperienced individuals to enter the field without a strong foundation in journalistic ethics.

To maintain high standards, it is crucial for aspiring journalists to receive comprehensive training and mentorship, ensuring they possess the necessary skills and knowledge to responsibly inform the public. In short, Training and Professional Development is essential for proper journalism.

To say more, Neglecting Fact-Checking. How did Ghana journalism reach this feat?
One of the essential roles of journalism is to verify information. The effect of this enables journalists to hold power to account. However, the decline in fact-checking practices in Ghana is deeply concerning. Journalists have a responsibility to verify claims, cross-reference sources, and provide accurate and unbiased information.

Failing to do so not only compromises the credibility of the media but also undermines public trust in the fourth estate. Fact-checking must be reinstated as an integral part of journalistic practice.

To end this, not-limited-to, but The National Media Commission, Ghana Journalist Association, and the Ghanaian public must work together to advocate for ethical journalism that upholds the values of accuracy, impartiality, and accountability. Only through a collective effort can we revive journalism in Ghana and ensure its continued contribution to democracy for the public good.

Just as patented by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in elements of journalism, journalists in Ghana should deem it highly important that their loyalty is to the citizens. Because today’s journalism is KILLING JOURNALISM IN GHANA.

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By: Master Bilson

Image By: The Express Tribune


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