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To ensure a conducive environment for the practice of safe and responsible journalism in Ghana, journalists must be allowed to discharge their duties without any interference, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said.
His statement follows the reported numerous attacks and brutalities on journalists ranging from killing to torture; a trend which is not only rampant in Ghana but is of global concern.
According to Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, government is in view of that working on an implementation strategy to ensure press freedom while making the 4th estate take responsibility for their actions and inactions.
The Minister was speaking at an event held for the proposed National Coordinating Mechanism on Safe and Responsible Journalism in the country.
The meeting was organized by government in partnership with UNESCO and involved a committee which will make recommendations and ensure a comprehensive approach in media development as well as see to the creation of a conducive environment for the practice of safe and responsible journalism.
Oppong Nkrumah indicated that the 21-stakeholder group are not to interfere with the independence of the press but must take the bull by the horn to address the twin challenge of a free and responsible media.
He explained that although the press must be given the freedom to express themselves without any hindrance, he was of the view that reporters are responsible for discharging their duties without infringing on the rights of others.
“Free and responsible journalism ought not to be the focus of any one single stakeholder but all stakeholders. Because we need to have an environment where journalists can operate freely, can raise the issues that they deem fit freely and even make mistakes freely and expect that the normal legal channels will be used to address those cases.” He averred.
He was also categorical about the fact that stakeholders must be able to draw a clear line between a free press and a responsible one for journalists to follow.
“We also have to have an environment in which the other stakeholders can be sure that as journalists also go about their work, responsibility will also be enshrined”, he further stated.
Abusing press freedom
Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, in an interview with Ghanaweb cautioned the media against abusing their rights to press freedom.
He advised journalists to work diligently and responsibly while taking into consideration the interest of the people they write about.
“You see, one of the things that provoke anger is when the media behave with impunity. Even if we are fighting against impunity we must not act with impunity.”
Beyond that, he pleaded with Ghanaians to desist from taking the laws in their hands because even when journalists err, there are rules in dealing with that
Government praised for promoting press freedom
On his part, the newly appointed country head of UNESCO office, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo praised government for taking the steps to put an end to media brutality while ensuring accountability from the press.
He reiterated his outfit’s commitment to work together with the Ghana government for an independent and pluralistic press which he said is critical for achieving SDG2063 Agenda.
Stakeholders, to ensure a robust Press Freedom, were drawn from the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, Police, Armed Forces, National Peace Council, National House of Chiefs, National Commission for Civic Education, Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Independent Broadcaster Association, Private Newspapers Publishers Association of Ghana, Sports Writers Association of Ghana, and Civil Society Organization with focus on media.
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