Ghana Journalists trained to not identify sex crime victims

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The Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs along with the Ghana Journalists Association sponsored a workshop for journalists in Ghana. (Credit: Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs)

Ghana News Agency reported Dec. 14 that a government minister called on the media to “be more abreast with domestic violence issues” so that the media reports more accurately on domestic violence incidents.

The minister, Juliana Azumah-Mensah, the Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, also “stressed the need for the media” to report domestic violence issues to make the issue known and the public aware.

“Some of us have lost count of reported cases we hear and read through the media about violations of women’s rights,” she is quoted as saying.

She also advised that the media needs to carefully report and not include identifying information for victims.

Her comments came in a speech at a media training workshop called “Ethics of Reporting Domestic Violence Issues.”  The workshop was sponsored by the Netherlands embassy and organized by her ministry and the Ghana Journalists Association.

Ghana News Agency also reported Dec. 14 that in the same workshop, Alidu Baba, the Northern Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association, called on journalists to be careful to not identify “victims of sexual violence and other social traumas.”

Baba noted doing so violates the GJA’s code of conduct, specifically the provision that explicitly states:

“Journalists should avoid identifying victims of sexual assault.”

Baba urged that journalists “respect the privacy of individuals and their human dignity at all times.”

Likewise, he reminded journalists they must have parental or guardian permission to interview or photograph minors “in criminal and other cases.”

The Ghana Journalists Association was founded in 1949 and is on the National Media Commission’s board. The NMC was established by a 1993 parliamentary act.

Ghana Business News reported Dec. 11 that Ghana media also “has been urged to collaborate effectively with human rights organizations to enlighten the citizenry on their basic freedoms and rights.”

The call was made in a forum celebrating human rights week by Halimatu Nuhu, the Brong Ahafo Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice.

iMediaEthics has written to the Ghana Journalists Association and will update with any response.  We attempted to contact the Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, but our e-mail, sent to the address listed on the ministry’s website, bounced back.

iMediaEthics wrote earlier this month when Ghana journalism professor Dr. Audrey Gadzekpo called for journalists to better follow journalism ethics guidelines. Ghana’s National Media chair Kabral Blay-Amihere criticized Ghana journalists for not acting as gatekeepers.

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Ghana Journalists trained to not identify sex crime victims

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