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Facilitate informed financial decisions with responsible reportingCharlotte Kesson-Smith Osei to financial journalists

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Legal practitioner, Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei has advised journalists to uphold ethical responsibility in their reporting on business, economic and financial issues.

She was speaking at the First National Bank Journalism Academy recently held in Accra. 

Addressing the reporters and editors on the law and financial reporting, Ms. Kesson-Smith Osei explained that by upholding principles of accuracy, transparency, fairness and respect for privacy, journalists can guide individuals in making informed financial decisions. 

“The essence of ethical standards is not only a professional obligation but also essential for preserving the integrity and credibility of financial journalism in a complex and dynamic landscape,” she said. 

The First National Bank Journalism Academy was a training for 25 reporters and editors drawn from some of the most influential business news outlets in Ghana. 

Participants received lessons in reading financial statements and the importance of ethical reporting at the two-day workshop, organized in partnership with the University of Media, Arts and Communication. 

Ms. Kesson-Smith Osei stressed that journalists hold a position of influence, shaping public perception and guiding individuals in their financial decisions. 

“Journalists must diligently verify information from credible sources before publishing financial news or advice,” she said. “Inaccurate reporting can mislead readers and have serious consequences on their financial decisions. Fact-checking and cross-referencing information are essential practices to ensure the veracity of financial reporting.”

Journalists must be mindful of the legal implications of their reporting, especially in the sensitive and regulated domain of finance, she pointed out, while stressing that libel, defamation, and insider trading laws are just a few examples of the legal issues journalists must learn about and understand. 

Ms. Kesson-Smith Osei said in the event of errors or inaccuracies in financial reporting, journalists have a duty to promptly correct the record and acknowledge their mistakes. Transparency about corrections demonstrates accountability and maintains the integrity of journalistic standards, she said. 

She added that journalists should be open to feedback from readers and be willing to address concerns about the accuracy or fairness of their reporting. She also reminded journalists that their job is to ensure continuous adherence to statutory requirements and international financial reporting standards and guidelines which are all imperatives for the effective monitoring, regulation and development of individual organisations as well as the legal and economic sectors of Ghana.

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