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Don’t joke with news- Prof. Karikari advises media houses


The founder of Media foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Professor Kwame Karikari has urged the media organizations to stop putting jokes in their news items. According to him, news was the mother of all programming in any news or media organizations and that there should not be a joke whatsoever.

Professor Karikari who is also a lecturer at the Legon School of communication urged news organizations not to turn public opinion into frivolousity and that news must be presented as facts and occurrences of events.

Addressing over 60 journalists from the ten regions in Ghana at a two day national media training on Ebola in Accra, professor Karikari entreated journalist and presenters not to play into their listener’s sensitivity.

He reminded journalist that putting jokes on news can infuriate their listeners.  He further urged journalists and presenters to be very careful in order that they become good interpreters of reality and brace themselves with facts.

He said many people believe in superstition and media houses should not allow people without facts to confuse the people when it comes to diseases such as Ebola. Professor Karikari said superstitions and believes in the African communities are wide spread citing T.B Joshua, a Nigerian pastor who said he has anointed water to fight Ebola and pastor Duncan William’s comments on Ebola as an example.

Given people without scientific evidence and facts air time means such media houses are rather supporting the death of so many people in the communities because they believe in what comes out of radio, the media expert cautioned presenters and journalist.

The two day national media workshop on Ebola was organized by Media Foundation for West Africa in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO).

It was to sensitized journalist on need to report professionally on Ebola issues in Ghana. In the awake of deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging some West African countries, professor Karikari  pleaded with media houses specialist journalist and presenters to  stick to facts from health experts and truth on Ebola and desist from Channing out information they have no idea of.    

Professor Karikari also expressed worry over the trend he noted was gaining grounds in the media landscape in Ghana where newscasters turn news into comedy and describe it as bad media practices. The media expert advised media houses not to copy bad practices from the big news outlets in the country.

The National Provisional Officer in charge of health promotion at the World Health Organization (WHO) Juana Ansong called on the media houses to use their medium to create awareness of the Ebola disease.

 Madam Juana observe that only strong partnership can help defeat Ebola and that the media is a strong partner that can aid in the fight of Ebola by communicating properly to the public.

Outlining some functions of the media, Madam Juana Ansong said informing the public, generates ideas, mobilizes political and social network will help in shaping the policy agenda. Cue in: Madam Juana 1

Madam Juana advised the public to take precautionary measures when dealing with animals that can transmit the disease.

A senior  advisor to the Norwegian government Tore Godal says the Ebola disease remains  both public health and  international health concern and that the media so far as played important role in the sensitization of the disease but  added that some have speculated false information concerning the disease which can cause harm and contribute to the spread of the disease.


He therefore advised the media to stick to giving the public accurate information, keep authorities accountable and the source of information about the disease trust worthy.



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