The Ghana Journalists Association is deeply dismayed by the front-page story on the death of P.V. Obeng in today’s edition of the Daily Guide newspaper. The headline: “How PV Died” and a photograph showing him being stretchered off to the morgue were not only inhumane but in bad taste.
This is a violation of the GJA Code of Ethics and should be totally condemned.
Article 2 of the GJA Code of Ethics requires that “In collecting and disseminating information, the journalist should bear in mind his/her responsibility to the public at large and the various interests in society”, There is no doubt that the paper’s coverage had shown gross insensitivity and disrespect on an issue concerning the death of a mortal. This is bound to hurt family members, other relations and friends of PV.
Furthermore, portions of Article 5 of the Code on Respect for Privacy and Human Dignity request that “journalists should respect the right of the individual to privacy and human dignity. Enquiries and intrusions into a person’s private life can only be justified when done in the public interest. We found some of the details in the reportage rather superfluous, especially at a time when his family was yet to come out on such calamity.
But above all, “Daily Guide” willfully disregarded Article 16 of the GJA Code which states that “in cases of personal grief, distress, journalists should exercise tact and diplomacy in seeking information and publishing”.
The paper’s reportage of Mr. Obeng’s death cast a deep slur on the spirit and sensitivity of the media in handling matters of grief. It has smacked off the media as being inhumane and not circumspect when it comes to matters of the dead who the GJA believe also have rights.
The media have all the rights to report on issues of sorrow, grief and distress. However, it will be good for the society and humanity they serve if they did that with some decency and respect for fellow human feelings.