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General News of Saturday, 19 January 2019

Source: 3news.com

Gov’t to ‘examine’ opinion journalism, social media usage - Information Ministry

The government has raised concerns about the manner in which the media use opinion journalism and social media in the dissemination of information and has, consequently, hinted it will begin to examine them.

Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told leadership of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) Friday, January 18 that the government will soon call a roundtable stakeholder engagement to address some concerns it has observed in the media.

The leadership of the GJA had paid a courtesy call on the Minister as part of activities marking the 70th anniversary of the Association.

The Minister used the opportunity to address a number of issues including the need to check fake news, opinion journalism and the use of social media in news production.

According to the Minister, fake news continues to be a major challenge creeping into the media space which must be tackled before it gets out of hand.

He hinted that the government will as well tackle the issue of opinion journalism, which he said will help separate opinion from facts.

“Another thing we, at that point, hope to confront is opinion journalism,” he said.

“So we must begin to examine opinion journalism a bit more and what sort of rubrics we all want to put in place so that the consumer at any point in time knows that this is a fact, this is an opinion and in consuming the news is guided,” he explained.

On the issue of social media, he observed some media houses do not have a clear policy on the use of social media, something he said must be looked at to avert the situation of people taking advantage of the situation to spread fake news.

“Where you don’t have clear policies even for mainstream media on social media usage, you can have the tendency of some of us thinking that this is my private opinion, I can put it on my Facebook wall so it does not matter.”

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah reiterated the need for stakeholder engagement on the issues, noting they are “ contemporary challenges that are coming up”.