The Director-General of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Madame Irina Bokova, has described the decision by Ghana to host the 2018 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) as a mark of the country's growing democratic credentials.
Madame Bokova added that Ghana's acceptance to host the annual media event smacked of a country that had a firm believe in freedom of the media as a catalyst to its democratic governance.
The UNESCO Director-General, who is on a working visit to Africa, and in Ghana primarily to discuss Ghana's preparedness to host WPFD slated for May 3 and May 4, 2018, made the observation when she was welcomed into Ghana, last Saturday, by the Deputy Minister for Information, Hon. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah.
She pledged UNESCO's preparedness to work closely with Ghana to ensure the success of the global event.
Madame Bokova was optimistic Ghana would, once again, make Africa proud by delivering on the task, adding that the event would be an opportunity for civil society, policy makers and the media to deliberate on current challenges and explore ways of building stronger institutions.
She commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the bold decision to implement the Free Senior High School Policy.
That decision, she said, was a demonstration of the President's commitment to improving the standard of education in Ghana as well as a demonstration of commitment to the United Nations shared values.
Madame Bokova disclosed that the UNESCO was working closely with Ghana to ensure the standard of education in Ghana was improved.
In his welcome remarks, Hon. Oppong-Nkrumah indicated that Ghana's decision to host the WPFD 2018 underscored the importance President Akufo-Addo attached to expanding the frontiers of media freedom in Ghana.
Mr Oppong-Nkrumah said the President was committed to ensuring and protecting the freedom of the media as guaranteed by Ghana's Constitution.
He recounted the instrumental role the President played in getting the criminal libel law repealed which, he said, paved the way for a more liberalized media landscape.
On Ghana's preparation towards the WPFD, Hon. Oppong-Nkrumah disclosed that a Multi Stakeholder's Steering Committee, which was being co-chaired by the Ministry of Information and UNESCO, had been set up to oversee the planning of the event.
Every year on May 4, World Press Freedom Day is commemorated across the globe and hosted by one country or the other. Last year's event was hosted by Indonesia.
Ghana will be hosting the 2018 edition on a theme which seeks to explore the role of the media and the judiciary in ensuring the rule of law and safeguarding fundamental human rights.
The Accra event will bring together civil society, the academia, media and representatives of the judiciary.
The event will be in four plenary sessions including an academic conference on the safety of journalists, a youth newsroom and photo exhibition.
Source: MOI (Munira Karim)