Journalism: Facts not fiction

Journalism: Facts not fiction

When you hear the word journalist or journalism what adjective comes to mind? For me, integrity, thoroughness, and honesty jump out. We now live in a world where information is readily available, and there is plenty out there.

It is fairly easy to get information, but it is also critical to get the right information, especially if you are a journalist or claim to be one. Conscientious journalists strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is vital to a journalist’s credibility.

A journalist’s job is to research, write, edit, proofread and file news stories, whether in the form of articles for magazines, journals and newspapers; or file stories for television and radio. Most journalism jobs require a qualification accredited by a council that oversees their training.

However, not every journalist goes through conventional training and certification, some acquire their skills unconventionally. But what is most important about journalism is ethics!

Journalism ethics is a kind of practical (professional) ethics. It is the evaluation and application of the principles and norms that guide journalism practice, and these principles should apply to all journalists, regardless of how your skills were acquired.

Some of these principles include diligence, integrity, independence, fairness and impartiality, humanity and accountability. It is fair to note that journalists cannot guarantee “truth,” but getting the facts right should be a fundamental principle of journalism.

It was reported on GRTS a couple weeks ago that President Barrow donated two vehicles to GRTS, when in fact, that was not the case. President Barrow did not donate the two vehicles. Daily Observer also reported yesterday that over 1000 Holy Qurans were donated to Muslims by President Barrow. Again, those Holy Books were not donated by President Barrow.

To report that President Barrow made a donation he didn’t actually make is a misrepresentation of the truth and a violation of the cardinal principle of reporting facts.

GRTS and Daily Observer should not be in the business of misrepresenting the truth as news outlets now. They already did enough of that in the past 22 years. Gambia is looking to move forward.

Like they say: “the buck stops at the top,” and it is incumbent upon the managing directors of GRTS and Daily Observer to make sure that their reporters do the amount of research necessary to get the facts and report them. The facts should be reported, not fiction.

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