The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has a role to play in strengthening social responsibility principles within individual media practitioners as well as media houses.
“It must be noted that the GJA has always been committed to matters related to social responsibility, so the association has a vanguard role to play in further strengthening social responsibility principles in media practitioners and media institutions.”
A Corporate Social Responsibility Consultant, and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Communication Studies, Wisconsin International University College, Dr. Kweku Rockson, said this at the fourth GJA Anniversary Lecture on Tuesday in Accra on the topic, “Aligning Journalism Practice with the Social Responsibility Initiative: The Role of Media Practitioners, Media Institutions and the Ghana Journalists Association.”
He observed that the GJA, through specific activities like the journalist of the year competitions, had fully shown its commitment to improve media practice.
Dr. Rockson said the GJA could consider introducing two new categories in the annual GJA Journalist of the Year competition for members to sign up to a code of principles to show commitment to professional competition, which he mentioned as the Individual Social Responsibility Media Practitioner of the year and the Corporate Social Responsibility Media Organisation of the year.
He said the Association could also consider the establishment of a voluntary group to be called the Association of Socially Responsible Media Organisations, where members would sign up to a high ethical conduct and social responsibility in their media practice.
“Another recommendation is that, media organisations should be encouraged to commission Corporate Social Responsibility consultants, to help make media organisations Corporate Social Responsibility compliant,” Dr. Rockson added.
He urged media entities to be creative in introducing stand-alone social responsibility initiatives, adding that tertiary training institutions, especially media oriented ones, should take Corporate Social Responsibility or Social Responsibility as a multi-disciplinary.
“Since it has elements of ethics, public relations, marketing, law, economics, business management, industrial relations and human resources among others, it cannot be handled comprehensively by specialists in any of these single disciplines,” Dr. Rockson said.
He said media practitioners should endeavour to learn about Corporate Social Responsibility, to be able to discern when confronted with requests for coverage.
“Their appreciation of this social and ethical practice should go beyond the undue emphasis of corporate philanthropy,” he said.
Outgoing President, Institute of Public Relations-Ghana and Chairperson for the occasion, Elaine Sam observed, “in the media arena, however, while one may be tempted to see the very art of journalism as Corporate Social Responsibility, media institutions have lately been in the forefront of using their platforms and resources to draw attention to injustices and also bring relief to troubled areas and institutions.”
She said corporate Social Responsibility was inherently important because everyone had the responsibility to care for people and the planet.
Madam Sam observed that whilst profit was an important motivation and goal for organisations, these organisations would not be successful if profit remained their only goal.
“There ought to be an obligation on corporations to do good while they do well,” she said.
The event forms part of activities to mark the GJA’s 70th anniversary celebration.