He said television and radio stations depended on social media to drive their contents and technology, and that, then emergence of the Internet has changed “what we do as people”.
He said that in the early 50s, Ghana had four newspapers with no private radio station but now Ghana has about over 21 television networks and over 200 newspapers, which calls for the stepping up of technology to meet the needs of users.
Mr Sarpong, who was speaking at a forum on “The Future of News,” organised by International Institute of ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes), in collaboration with Joy FM, Graphic and Ghana News.com to shape the future of news on the continent.
Over 100 participants, including journalists and Editors attended the forum on the theme “Shaping the Future of News”.
The Deputy Communications Minister commended the organisers of the forum, which he said, would serve as a vibrant and interactive platform.
“News will change and will continue to evolve so fact checking should be paramount to get our content accurate,” he said, and urged the media to avoid asking people with little or no idea or knowledge on topics to comment on them.
“Journalists should always ask themselves if information passed on is in the five-fold principle and test, will it help in the developing the nation, will it empower people, will it enhance business to flourish, is it information that will lead to reformation across the nation and the globe, and will it assure those who listen a better tomorrow for all, that is the test of journalism,” he added.
Mr Sarpong urged the media to always separate government issues from that of political issues in order not to confuse the public.
He said creativity is the way to go forward and that should reflect in news on a daily basis.
The panellists agreed that traditional media needs to step up in terms of technology to be abreast with social media.
According to them what the news users need is accuracy, easy accessibility and how the news will enhance their business in terms of government policies and budgets.
They therefore urged journalists to move from literacy to digital literacy and to digital inclusion so that citizens will be able to stream to enhance development.
The panellists also stressed the need to have a strong accountability journalism and solution journalism to enable users to have a fair share of their money.