The Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr. George Sarpong, has called on the media to be circumspect in handling data that come their way.
He also asked the media to take steps to protect data on people from web fraudsters.
Mr. Sarpong made the call at a day’s media training workshop on ‘Data Protection and Journalism’ in Accra.
He said with the current liberalization of the air space, most smartphones and laptops could be used to perform certain unsolicited tasks, to the detriment of their owners.
He, therefore, called on journalists to be cautious about signing onto many of the applications and platforms that had been made available due to the influx of modern phones on the market.
Right to Information Bill
Addressing the media on the topic: “The role of the media as data controllers and relevancy to the Right to Information Bill,” Mr. Sarpong said data protection was in conformity with the Right to Information Bill (RIB) and called on the media to give it their fullest support.
The Executive Secretary, who lauded the establishment of the Data Protection Commission (DPC), said Ghana had one of the most progressive regulations on media work in Africa.
He, therefore, called on the media to ensure that they protected information that came their way, so that they did not infringe on the rights of people.
He said the media also had the responsibility to educate and inform people on the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843), so that the public would be abreast of the act.
The Executive Director of the DPC, Mrs. Teki Akuetteh Falconer, in a presentation on “Data protection and journalism”, said the Data Protection Act (DPA) applied to any organization which handled information about people.
She said although there was an exemption to protect journalism, the act did not give automatic protection and, therefore, called on all media organizations to register with the commission.
The scope of the DPA, she said, was wide, as it applied to the processing of personal data on people, and urged the media to comply with the act.
A consultant with the DPC, Mr. Macdonald Bubuama, said the DPA had become necessary because there was the need to protect the privacy of individuals and data on people by regulating the processing of personal information.
He said the commission, among other things, aimed at increasing the level of data protection responsiveness among people and organizations who collected and used information on people.