Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), has called on the media to raise the performance standards among the arms of governance in Ghana to deepen freedom of expression.
He said if a thief would have no moral basis to catch a thief, then it would be difficult to fathom how a journalist who took bribes would be holding other players in governance accountable.
Prof. Karikari said radio stations must be seen to be voices of their own, not megaphones of any political party, adding that Ghana’s democracy could be endangered if society came to regard the media as pliable.
He observed that the nation’s constitution imposed a huge watchdog role on the media, which could only be accomplished by highly professional media people.
Professor Karikari made the call at a Media Development Forum, at Ho on Saturday, attended by managers of radio stations in the Eastern and Volta regions, on the theme, ‘The responsibility of the broadcaster in promoting free speech in a democracy.’ The forum was under the auspices of the foundation’s Ghana Media Standards Improvement Project (GMSIP), which was funded by the Royal Danish Embassy in Accra.
Prof. Karikari noted that since the inception of the Fourth Republic, all governments had supported engagements on issues related to media legislations.
He said radio stations and other media houses must reflect the national agenda, such as the mobilisation of society for the attainment of health programmes.
Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, GMSIP Co-ordinator said the project, meant to develop a culture of investigative and analytical journalism in Ghana, was launched nearly a year ago by the MFWA in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association.
She said eight rural radio stations and four newspapers would be selected for training programmes to improve standards.
Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari said the Media Development Forums were platforms for media self-examination as well as the exchange of ideas with the public to advance the profession.
She said the objective was to strengthen the capacity of the Ghanaian media to sustain democracy and advance freedom of expression.
Colonel Cyril Necku, (Rtd) Deputy Volta Regional Minister said the media should be accessible to “as wide a segment of society as possible”.
He observed that the lack of “knowledge about governance and development issues seriously hamper the watchdog role of the media.”
On Friday, the GMSIP brought managers of campus and other institutional radio stations to a roundtable on how to develop the media landscape in the country.