The International Institute of ICT Journalism, Penplusbytes, on Wednesday, February 4th, as part of its mission of improving the quality of journalism using new digital technologies, facilitated the formation of Online Editors Ghana; a network of online news leaders in Ghana committed to promoting quality journalism and maintaining high ethical standards that govern online news ecosystem.
The network’s formation is the outcome of a unanimous agreement of 20 online news editors who were present at the one-day “Strategic Briefing for Newsroom Online Editors,” organised by Penplusbytes at its New Media Hub in Accra with the key objective of creating a unified platform to connect, inspire and share ideas to define the future of online Journalism in Ghana.
The online editors were drawn from Daily Graphic, Spy Ghana, Citi FM, Ghana News Agency, Daily Guide, TV3, Starr FM, Radio XYZ, Metro TV, Inform Ghana, Ghanaian Chronicle, Modern Ghana, Spy News Agency and, Business and Financial Times.
The group, which has set out to become Ghana’s ultimate affiliate body for online Editors, has elected Isaac Yeboah of Graphic Communication as its interim Chairman with Charity Tetteh-Roberts of Radio XYZ as vice-chair and will formally be inaugurated in April, 2015.
In a short speech, Mr. Yeboah decried the habit of disregarding sound ethical considerations by some online news portals all in the name of the “We broke it first” syndrome, characterized by a rush to break news online first while throwing caution to the wind and disregarding professional ethics. “Competition has a way of bringing the best out of online news but it would require hard work and responsibility on the part of its players,” he added.
Online editors Ghana has therefore set in motion a campaign to curb the abuse of ethics. It also indicated its readiness to partner with the Ghana Journalist Association to streamline the conduct of online Editors and also with Journalism Schools to put online journalism ethics at the centre of their curriculum.
Mr. Charles Ayiku, a Web Communications expert and a facilitator at the briefing, warned Editors to prioritize credibility in online content delivery without which their audience cannot trust news from their respective online news outlets and desist from slanderous practices that will attract libel or the risk of being sued.
Another facilitator at the briefing Mr Asamoah Boahene, a New Media Expert, took the editors through exciting key trends and developments in the global online news environment in order for them to maintain a competitive edge.
Penplusbytes is a leading organization in Africa, established in 2001 and working in 3 areas: the use of technology to drive governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining.