This year’s World Press Freedom Day was marked with a symposium and flag-raising ceremony at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra yesterday with the call on the media to peer review themselves and avoid acts which could destabilise the country.
The Chairman of the National Media Commission, Kabral Blay Amihere who made the call also advised the media to use their platforms as avenues for promoting peace and development and not as tools to churn out hate speech and incite violence.
Mr Amihere’s call comes in the wake of the use of hate speech and inflammatory language and insults which has characterised a section of the media.
The Chairman of the NMC lamented that the media was gradually becoming a landmine of derailing the country’s democracy due to the inflammatory and inciting language use in the media.
“The signs that the media could become a landmine for our democracy were clear yesterday and not just today,” he stated.
Mr Amihere entreated the media to work hard to justify the freedom granted it by the 1992 Constitution, saying the media should not live under the force impression that the freedom granted it could not be rolled back.
The NMC said his outfit could not effectively carry out constitutionally mandate because itwas poorly resources.
He said monitoring and evaluating the over 240 FM stations, a dozen of television stations and about 100 newspapers would require enormous resources, and called on the government to adequately resources the NMC to enable it effectively carry out its constitutional mandate.
Mr Amihere called on government to expedite action the passage of the Broadcasting Law to provide a legal framework for regulating the media landscape, particularly the broadcasting sector.
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Ransford Tetteh in his address reminded the media of their gate keeping roles as the country entered the 2012 elections, saying the media need to balance the freedom and independence of the media with a high sense of obligation and social responsibility.
He said the global theme of the this year’s WPFD should inform African states not to be complacent inthe development of democracy and be mindful of the capacity of the media to help in bringing about sweeping change as is inthe case of the “Arab Spring,” that has swept through Africa and parts of the Middle East.
A Deputy Minister of Information, James Agyenim-Boateng in remark said government was committed to entrenching press freedom and said government had set up a fund to build the capacity of media personnel inthe country.
He advised journalists to be fair and accurate in their reportage and avoid acts which could plunge the state into war.
On the passage of the Broadcasting bill, he said government was committed to ensuring that the bill was passed into law and would soon be presented to Parliament.
Other speakers at the symposium and flag-raising ceremony including the United Nations Resident Co-ordinator, Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Mr Akoto Ampaw, Chairman the Coalition of Right to Information Ghana, Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress called for the early passage of the Broadcasting and the Rights to Information Bills into law.
The argued these two bills when passed into law could entrench press freedom and promote easy access to information.
The TUC, National Communications Authority, the Editors Forum Ghana, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association in fraternal messages saluted journalists for their hard work
This year’s World Press Freedom Day is on a global theme “Media Freedom has the Power to Transform Societies.”
The day was set aside by the United Nations, is being celebrated across the world to drum home the point that media pluralism and press freedom are essential for development.
It also mark to recognise various sacrifices that media personnel throughout the world make, sometimes at the peril of their lives, in order to bring information to the people to make informed decisions.