Ghana Joins C'wealth to Pledge Support for Protection of Journalists

Ghana has joined other commonwealth nations to pledge their commitment for the protection of Journalists at the just ended Global Conference for Media Freedom held in London, the United Kingdom.

The two-day conference, among others, discussed ways to ensure responsible media and support for the safety and protection of journalists across the globe.

The maiden Global Conference for Media Freedom was jointly organised by the UK and the Canadian governments.

Ghana's delegation at the conference was led by the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.

Mr Nkrumah, in an address, told participants that Ghana would continue to build a robust mechanism for a free and responsible media practice through constitutional and legal frameworks.

"Ghana has repealed the Criminal Libel Law, enacted a whistle blowers law and recently passed the Right To Information (RTI) Bill," he said, adding that these developments have introduced a refreshing pluralism onto Ghana's mass media landscape.

Stressing that, "it has also opened up access to new and diverse voices that have promoted democracy and participation in governance and development, and above all enhanced press freedom".

The Information Minister said Ghana's performance on the World Press Freedom Index, within the last few years, has been commendable despite the recent reported cases of attacks on media freedom.

"In recent years, Ghana has also experienced its share of the global attacks on free media despite our good track record. The worst, has been the cold blooded murder of Ahmed Suale believed to be connected with his work as an associate of the media organisation Tiger Eye PI."

Regrettably, the Information Minister said, "our investigative agencies have not made much headway in arresting and punishing perpetrators of such acts. It appears we took our media excellence and public tolerance for granted but now we have to face up to the changing realities and do more".

The Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ofoase Ayirebi, disclosed that Ghana was taking measures to fight abuse and attacks on journalists through the implementation of a coordinating mechanism on the safety of journalists which would help equip various stakeholders to prevent abuse and independently validate future claims of attacks.

He disclosed that Ghana was rolling out a media capacity programme in support of quality journalism but would not shy away from legislating against misinformation and disinformation which constitute challenges that threatened confidence in the media.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah challenged media practitioners and journalists to go beyond investigating and exposing nefarious acts. He said they should also use their platforms to highlight positive advancements of societies.

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