Information Minister: Gov’t is committed to free media

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The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has reiterated the government’s commitment to free media in the country.

According to him, the government has shown through several means that it is committed to the protection of media freedom in the country. This commitment, he contends, defeats the argument that there is a ‘culture of silence’ in the country.

“…I cannot agree that there is a culture of silence in Ghana because the government is committed to the culture of free media in Ghana,” he stressed.

He was speaking at a short ceremony to open an office complex that will serve as the official source for filing complaints of attacks on journalists, validating alleged attacks, following up on investigations and sanctions and reporting on safety of journalists.

The office, operated by the National Media Commission, was commissioned in commemoration of the 2021 World Press Freedom Day.

According to the Minister, it is the ‘big wish’ of government that the facility and its operations will grow beyond what it is today and be replicated in other regions.

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Cabinet support

He disclosed that Cabinet approved the framework for safety of journalists in 2020 after the Ministry of Information submitted a memo to its effect. The National Media Commission shall be the independent operator of the office as part of its efforts to promote the media industry.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah urged journalists to take advantage of the facility in addressing pressing issues on their safety.

He said the office is an additional layer aside from many other interventions demonstrating the government’s commitment to press freedom and safety of journalists.

He called on the National Media Commission to be professional and independent on matters that come before the office.

“If you do it well, other countries going through same challenges will come and learn from you,” he said.

Complaints can be made at the office through phone calls or personal submissions, and in future there are plans to introduce an online service.

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Partnership

In a related development, the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) has stated that it is prepared to “partner government to propagate its programmes and policies to every nook and cranny of the country”.

This, it says, will “help eradicate or reduce the alarming levels of ignorance and poverty among Ghanaians, particularly in the hinterlands of the country.”

In a message delivered on his behalf at an event to mark the World Press Freedom Day yesterday, the President of PRINPAG, Andrew Edwin Arthur, lamented: “Much as we are ready and have opened our doors to the Government as well as given indication of our readiness to partner Government to advance the cause of the country’s development, PRINPAG regrets to state that our efforts in this direction have not received the needed encouragement and support from government and most of its institutions”.

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He noted that this situation has dimmed the enthusiasm and the zeal of members of the group who have always been ready to contribute their quota to Ghana’s development.

“As we celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day today, PRINPAG once again pledges its readiness to partner Government and its appointees at all levels to ensure that its policies and programmes are propagated effectively through our various newspapers and newsportals to help impact the lives of all Ghanaians positively and to also help change negative perceptions about governance,” he said.

“It is the hope of the executives of PRINPAG that in this second term of the NPP administration, the Government will introduce an all-inclusive media policy that will see all media establishments in the country functioning effectively in the media space and within the framework of the law and living up to their constitutional mandate as members of the fourth estate of the realm,” he added.

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