Desist from “ambulance journalism” on road safety; GJA President urges journalists

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The President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Roland Affail Monney, has called on journalists to desist from safety reports that focus on accidents and begin to work as agents of change in bahaviour on the road.

He particularly urged the media to take a concentrated look at the constant factors of road accidents in the country and use their platforms to help reduce, to the barest minimum, the ‘human slaughter’ that happens on the various road networks in the country.

He noted that the “scandalous frequency of preventable accidents that occur on our roads daily is an indictment on the media.”

According to Mr Affail Monney, the media in Ghana, when it comes to road safety issues, practice “ambulance and fire service journalism”, where they are only interested in accidents and not how to prevent the accidents from happening.

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He mentioned that while the mantra of “when it bleeds, it leads” continues to be a guiding principle for media practitioners, it should not be allowed to fester in issues that involve human lives, especially on road safety matters.

The GJA President was speaking at Ho on Tuesday during a one-day training workshop for media practitioners, organised by the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), in collaboration with GJA, as part of efforts to intensify road safety campaign.

The training workshop, held on the theme “Effective Road Safety Advocacy (campaign), Role of the Media”, was to get the media to appreciate road safety concerns to enable them educate drivers and other road users ahead of the upcoming general elections.

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Mr Affail Monney implored media practitioners to name and shame road users whose actions lead to road accidents in the country.

Lead discussion

The Volta Regional Deputy Minister, Reverend Johnson Avuletey, speaking at the workshop, urged the media to lead the discussion on road safety issues. He noted that the carnage on the country’s roads can be minimised if the media will take charge and advocate change of behaviour on the roads.

He maintained that the rampant accidents on the various roads in the country should not be allowed to continue, reiterating the call on the media to refocus the agenda on road safety to preventable issues rather than only reporting the numbers of deaths on the roads.

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Various speakers from the National Road Safety Authority and the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service took the media practitioners through various topics on road safety, including the NRSA’s ‘Arrive Alive’ road safety campaign and the Legislative Instrument for the NRSA Act, 2019 (Act 993).

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