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The Government of Ghana has taken another bold step in its quest to improve freedom of the press in the country and ensure a congenial atmosphere for journalists, ABC News Ghana can report.
This follows the decision of the State to join other countries in spearheading and advocating for the safeguarding and creation of protective environment for journalists under the auspices of UNESCO.
ABC News Ghana can confirm that Ghana’s permanent mission in New York joined the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists on April 29, 2019 joining countries like France, United Kingdom, United States and Cape Verde and 14 others.
This latest effort adds to other initiatives and actions taken since the return of constitutional rule in 1992 towards the establishment of free speech and press freedom.
Below is the statement providing more details about the group and Ghana’s involvement.
GHANA JOINS GROUP OF FRIENDS FOR THE PROTECTION OF JOURNALISTS
The Ghana Permanent Mission in New York on April 29, 2019, joined other member states of the United Nations group of friends for the protection of journalists across the globe to underpin efforts on UNESCO on the issue of safeguarding and creating a protective environment for journalists.
ABOUT THE GROUP
The Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalist was created in 2016 as a community of countries represented at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to strengthen commitments and to raise awareness on the responsibility of member states to ensure a safe and enabling environment for journalists and other media actors to work without undue interference or intimidation.
The group also works with other organizations such as the International Women’s Media Foundation, Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters without Borders for Freedom of Information to achieve shared objectives.
There are now 19 member states in this Group of Friends, Greece, Lithuania, France, Argentina, Ghana, United States, United Kingdom, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Tunisia, Switzerland, Sweden and Uruguay.
The Permanent Representatives of France, Lithuania and Greece are co-chairs of this group.
The Government of Ghana in line with its commitment to the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to information has been supportive of efforts that aim to protect Journalists and, to this end, has sought to create a conducive atmosphere for media freedom. This is buttressed by Chapter 12, Article 162, clauses 1 to 6 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which espouse the freedom of the media and their protection by the state.
Ghana has also amended laws as a further demonstration of the country’s commitment to freedom of expression. The repeal of Newspaper Licensing in 1991 and the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law in July, 2001 are examples. On March 26, 2019, Ghana’s Parliament passed the right to information bill into law. A law that will allow Journalists and media practitioners to access information without any hindrances.
Ghana is touted internationally as a beacon of democracy in Africa, especially in the sub-Saharan Africa, in part, because of its media pluralism and freedom. Indeed, the invitation to the Permanent Mission to join the Group of Friends in New York was attributable to Ghana’s recognized commitment. It is also on record that Ghana co-sponsored a landmark resolution at the United Nations on December 18, 2013, on the Safety of Journalists and the issue of Impunity.
Ghana’s membership of the Group of Friends is one of many such partnerships in which the Permanent Mission is involved. Ghana is currently a member of the Group of Friends on the Responsibility to Protect; the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group aimed at reforming the working methods of the Security Council; and the Group of Friends for the protection of children in armed conflict. In addition Ghana also chairs the Group of Friends for Gender Parity at the United Nations and the Group of Friends of the African Women Leaders Network.
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