21 January 2019

Ghana: Set Up Fund for Investigative Journalists - Participants At New Year School Urge NMC

Participants at the 70th Annual New Year School and Conference have urged the National Media Commission to set up a fund to support activities of investigative journalists in the country.

According to them, given the important role that investigative journalists play in exposing corrupt practices in the country, the onus lies on the NMC to establish a fund to build and protect such journalists.

They urged the commission to establish a legal framework that would regulate the conduct of investigative journalists towards international best standards.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the week-long programme on Thursday at the University of Ghana in Accra.

The annual event organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education of the University of Ghana was on the theme, "Building Strong Institutions for Democratic Consolidation in Ghana."

Strong institutions contribute to citizens' well-being by protecting citizens, checking corruption, providing access to justice and ensuring fair distribution of basic services and resources.

This year's programme attracted anti-corruption agents, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), academia, politicians, security agencies, and civil society organisations.

The participants urged parliament to pass the Right to Information Bill which is critical to the fight against corruption and also charged the Electoral Commission to fully digitise their operations to minimise the propensity for human manipulation.

They called on the government to expedite action in setting up a legal framework that would hasten the processes in the election of chief executives of MMDAs to make them directly accountable to the people and also ensure that 30 per cent of government appointees are technocrats.

The participants also urged the government to initiate steps to rewrite the entire Constitution in order to strengthen the country's democracy and called for the state funding of political parties as well as sanctions regime for political parties that flout the regulations governing party funding to ensure accountability and transparency in their operations.

To ensure that the various courts have judges with the requisite experience and competencies, the conference urged the Judicial Council to take charge of the appointment of judges and also be allowed to retain 100 per cent of its internally Generated Fund.

They advised the government to adequately resource the Special Prosecutors' office, the Electoral Commission, Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice and the National Commission of Civic Education to enable them play their constitutional roles more effectively.

The participants also called on the Ministry of Education to incorporate constitutional and anti-corruption studies in the school curriculain order to inculcate desirable ethical standards and civic responsibility in the future generation.

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