The Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of Administration of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Air Vice Marshall Michael Appiah-Agyekum has encouraged journalists to build more collaborative efforts with the Army.
He believes such synergies would lead to the quelling of tension between the media and the Army as well as other intelligence agencies so that the country’s security architecture is not compromised.
Launching the logo and Constitution of the Defence Press Corps (DPC), which also occasioned the swearing-in of the corps executive body on Friday, April 22, 2022 he stated that although the media had a role to play as the fourth estate of the realm, there is certainly some intelligence information that when put in the public domain would jeopardise the country’s national security.
He acknowledged that the role of the media includes providing information, education, entertainment, persuasion, interpretation and socialisation of the mass population, but said it was important that the practitioners perform these duties with utmost responsibility.
“We need to progress to the realm where no respectable media organisation would have interest in endangering soldiers or intelligence agents so that national security is not compromised,” he underscored.
According to him, the media consists of many elements and each has its own requirements and agenda and that a situation whereby the media turn to view the military as doing everything possible to justify their action, in order to avoid publication of anything that would put the GAF in a bad light must be minimised.
“Good media relations is vital for a sustainable democracy. I want to use this forum to urge the Defence Press Corps to collaborate more with the Ghana Armed Forces to develop strategies as a means of enhancing mutual understanding, which will also help in building strategies…”
He said since the media and the army are two important actors in democracy, news firms should ensure they have a dedicated defence desk or correspondents to report military events, adding there have been incidents where the public had been mis-informed about the military, particularly regarding contents that are sometimes clearly untrue, half-truth and rumours.
The Air Vice Marshall urged the Directorate of Public Relations of the GAF to periodically build the capacity of members of the DPC so that the aforementioned challenges are brought to the barest minimum.
President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Mr Roland Affail Monney, after swearing into office the DPC leadership, charged journalists to shun the jack of all trade syndrome and specialise in particular areas.
He said professionalism and competence in an area of speciality are critical to the advancement of national development.
The leadership of the press corps is made up of; Emmanuel Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Dean (Peace Journal), Linda Tenyah-Ayittey, Deputy Dean (Daily Guide), Bernice Bessey, Secretary (The Chronicle), Christina Afua Nyarko, Treasurer (Ghana News Agency) and Jackson Kwabena Adu, Organiser (Peace FM).
The five would be steering the affairs of the press corps for the next two years. Mr Ampeah-Woode promised to use the period to address issues of welfare and capacity building of members, as well as raise thei professional standards, which would inure to the benefit of both the media and the army.
The occasion was graced by executives of the Judicial Press Corps, Parliamentary Press Corps, Water and Sanitation press corps and others from sister security agencies.