Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, a former Chairman of the National Media Commission, has urged Journalists in the West African Sub-region to help bridge the inequality and injustice gap by exposing corruption and corrupt practices.
He said corruption was one of the banes of Africa’s under development.
Ambassador Blay-Amihere was speaking at the opening of the West Africa Conference on Investigative Journalism organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in Accra on Wednesday.
The two-day conference, brought together 45 Investigative Journalists from 16 countries across the West African Sub-region to discuss: “The State of Investigative Journalism in Africa, Building Safety Net for Investigative Journalism in West Africa, What has to be done and Cross-border Investigative Journalism: Lessons from West Africa Leaks and Panama Papers”.
The conference is also to initiate the set-up and launch of the West Africa Network of Investigative Journalists.
He said even though Ghana had been ranked 23rd in the world with the practice of press freedom and freedom of speech and first in Africa, there were many other challenges that journalists were confronted with.
Ambassador Blay-Amihere said politicians had now become the dictators of the new media in most African countries, adding that, “in Ghana, there are about 400 Radio stations, which are partly own by politicians.”
He said this alone affected media freedom and freedom of speech as most journalists were being dictated by owners of their stations on what to air for fear of loss of job.
Ambassador Blay-Amihere said with the growing new media, the circulation of most traditional media had been declining, leading to the loss of revenue.
Mr Sulemana Braimah, the Executive Director of the MFWA, said Investigative Journalism was focused on fact checking in order to bring out truth.
He said journalists, who are into Investigations, should be considered as mentors or leaders within their communities.
He said the conference was to discuss the challenges, prospects and how investigative journalists can network to carry out cross-border investigative reporting.
Mr Braimah said majority of the participants had already carried out great and significant Investigative works in their various countries which needed cross-border societal development, adding that, this conference would also deal with the threat facing investigative journalists and how the media can be strengthened in the Sub-region.
He urged journalists to be factual, professional and stick to the fact of presenting people with the detailed truth and also go by the ethics of the profession.
The Executive Director said, in many of the countries, journalists and media organisations were under threat because of the good work they were doing which hurt many families.
Beate Weides, Country Coordinator Ghana, DW Akademie, said her outfit support freedom of expression and press freedom everywhere in the world and urged public authorities in the West African Sub-region to be transparent.
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