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It appears most media practitioners have failed to make the best out of the growing freedom of the press in Ghana, and are rather practicing with reckless abandon, a former Editor of the Daily Graphic, Ms Elizabeth Ohene has assessed.
This could explain why support for unfettered media has declined in Ghana and other parts of the continent, she suggested, recounting a report that said people now see press freedom as a problem instead of opportunity.
Limiting herself to Ghana, the former minister of state, said though FM stations have multiplied in recent times, the “recklessness” that comes with the number “saddens” her.
Madam Elizabeth Ohene was speaking at Media General thought leadership forum on Tuesday July 9, under the theme: “The State of Media Freedom in Ghana: A Critical Look at Contemporary Journalism, the Public Interest & Security of the State”.
She professed her full support for freedom of the media but reminded media practitioners – the fourth estate of the realm – to be responsible.
Madam Ohene recounted how she was “abused” by the media as a minister of state, but said even if 90 percent of Ghanaians want state control of the media, as against 57% captured by the latest Afro barometer report, she would not be part of the majority.
This, perhaps, is the reason she condemned the “crude and unnecessary” arrest of two modernghana editors from their office by armed police officers and National Security operatives in June.
Nonetheless, she was worried how some media houses are abusing their freedom and have metamorphosed into “creatures that most of us can’t recognize”.
“Recklessness has become the dominant feature of our media and it saddens me,” she explained.
“Journalists have a responsibility to be responsible,” the former BBC journalist reechoed.
Other speakers at the forum included chairman of the NMC, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh; President of the GJA, Affail Monney; Director-General of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police, ACP David Senanu Eklu, and President of Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Andrew Danso-Aninkora.
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