…As It Marks World Press Freedom Day
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has charged media practitioners in the country to criticize government to help build rather than destroy the nation.
According to the association, press freedom was among the most powerful vehicles for exposing misdeeds and upholding public trust.
The World Press Freedom Day, May 3, is set aside every year to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
The day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, following a recommendation adopted at the 26th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.
Several persons, including Haruna Iddrissu, Minority Leader; Adwoa Safo, Deputy Majority Leader and Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Information, attended the flag-raising ceremony to mark the day in Accra yesterday.
This year’s event was observed on the global theme: “Critical Minds for Critical Time: Media Role in Advancing Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Society,” while GJA marked the day with a message, “Still in Search of Right to Information (RTI) Law and the Broadcasting Law: Is Parliament in a Dilemma?”
In a welcome address to commemorate World Press Freedom Day, Dr, Roland Affail Monney, President of the Ghana Journalists Association, said when governments repress their people and shield themselves from scrutiny, press freedom is among the most powerful vehicles for exposing misdeeds and upholding public trust.
While cautioning against tendencies and temptation by players in the media industry who take insidious delight to interfere with editorial independence, he charged journalists to be builders of society rather than destroyers.
“In line with their constitutional mandate to hold the authorities to account, the GJA urges the media, to continue to criticize to build and not to criticize to destroy,” he stated.
He further lauded the Ghanaian media for the professional competence provided over the years which undoubtedly saved them from any lawful incarceration in prison, adding that, the Ghanaian media continue to rank high in the global level, having been moved from third to second position on the African continent and maintained its 26th position in the league table of the media system in the world.
Dr. Monney stated that, the professional standard of the media in Ghana has moved a notch higher with the introduction of fact- checking journalism, which, he noted, must be upheld forever.
He applauded the media for taken up the fight against “galamsey,” which remains the biggest threat to future survival of the nation and urged that, the media extend the fight against filth which had also indicts the Ghanaian sense of responsibility and corrodes our health as a nation.
The Minority Leader of Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, and Deputy Majority Leader, Adwoa Safo, in respective messages, assured the GJA and journalists in general of their commitment to advancing the media profession in Ghana.
They said, parliament has interest in passing the Right to Information Bill (RTI) and that they were concerned more than ever to ensure of its passage, especially under the seventh parliament.
On his part, the Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid, assured the GJA of government commitment to ensure a continuation of media freedom but cautioned against substandard reports where stories are being written without verifiable sources.
He said, though the media has improved professionally over the years, and such floppy practices have the tendency not for only destroying one person but the whole society and to the large extent the media profession in general.
The Information Minister charged journalists to remain professional, while putting government on check to help develop the country “as we all wanted.”
Other organizations, including the European Union (EU), congratulated the Ghanaian media for the high professional standard in their work.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba