Feature Article of Sunday, 7 March 2010

Columnist: Twumasi, Patrick

When You Spit In The Air. . .

In recent times, accusations and counter accusations by prominent and Senior Journalist, concerning impropriety of bribery allegations against each other, leaves many with the query, as to where the honour obligation and values of journalism lays.

The allegations of bribery by the Chairman, Board of Directors, Ghana Institute of Journalism, and the Editor, Daily Graphic, Alhaji A.B. A Fuseni does not only leave a bad taste of Journalism. But whether, the ethical professional practice that requires Journalist to place public service and social responsibility over and above personal gains has been be quitted to the land of our silent fathers.

Established Professions translates widely shared ideas of right conduct into code of ethics. These self inflicting wounds are untenable, and must receive the severest rebuttal from the Journalistic fraternity. This is not to protect and condone unethical and unprofessional conduct. But, it is better to remember that, every professional privilege rests on the foundation of public trust and confidence in both the professional€™s expertise and right conduct. Therefore, professional privilege is been offered to swine€™s in this case to trumple upon. It is to protect both clients, and their own privilege positions in society, as professional Journalist, that there is always the call for the establishment of ethics and standards of practice.

He who comes to justice must come to her with clean hands, so the saying goes. This is to remind the accuser or the one who alleges, to ensure he/she be clean from such unpardonable and unethical behaviour.

The confession by Mr. Ebenezer Ato Sam, also known as, Baby Ansaba, the Editor of; the punch newspaper and the current polemic of bribery allegations by these distinguished journalist, has the might of neutralizing the power of the pen, reputed to be mightier than the sword. Processional ethics has come up in this article, base on two reasons; its simple and complex purpose of enforcement. The simple purpose is to protect those who entrust their well-being to the professional. And, more complex, is about protecting the profession itself; professional privilege, status, and collegiality. Are these professional Journalists, aware that they are not only the voice of the voiceless and the fourth estate of the realm, but also have a fiduciary relationship? This calls professionals to hold the society, and possibly their possessions in trust, and is obliged as a professional, to act in the best interest of society. Hence, professionals traditionally hold privileged positions in society, because of the value and trust inherent in fiduciary relationship.

According to Cutlip, Center and Broom, known Public Relations authorities, claims, professionals do work that is seen as especially valuable in part, for the reason, of the preparation and practice needed to develop the required knowledge and skills. Therefore, not only must professionals invest a great deal, of time and effort to acquire their knowledge and skills, but they must also commit themselves to uphold the profession by honouring its obligations and values. Likewise, substandard practice, such as the accusation of bribery by, Alhaji Fuseni and the denial by Kwaku Baako jnr, the Editor of the Crusading Guide, threatens not only their clients€™ welfare, but also that of the profession.

Mistakes of the dead are examples for the living. Such unchecked internal wrangling has led to the lost of public trust in many institutions and professions. It has equally contributed to such institutions and professions loosing quality and skilled manpower. And many skilled hands shy away from such professions. Do these astute Journalist known that, the goat they would carry one day on their shoulders, should not be allowed to wallow in the mud? Using the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), ethical and disciplinary committee will be an option. Since, it is borders on ethical conduct.

Let the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) call these astute Professionals to order. But launch an independent and extensive enquiry to ascertain the veracity of the allegation. Since the integrity of the profession is at stake. For a stitch in time saves nine.