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US Ambassador urges media to uphold country’s freedom

BY: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor
Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan, US Ambassador
Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan, US Ambassador

Media practitioners in Ghana have been advised not to be complacent and take the freedom being enjoyed now for granted.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan, who gave the advice during an interaction with the media in Kumasi, observed that the polarised nature of the media landscape in Ghana, coupled with the challenge of fake news, was eroding the public confidence and trust in the media.

That, she said, called for more vigilance and extreme tactfulness on the part of the media to ensure that it reported only the facts in order to maintain the peace at all time.

World Press Freedom Day

Ms Sullivan, who was on a tour of the Ashanti Region, joined in the commemoration of  this year’s World Press Freedom Day which was on the theme: “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation,” in the region.

She called on the media and the relevant stakeholders not to be complacent and “to take both press freedom and press responsibility seriously.”

Ms Sullivan said if the press was not responsible and trusted, it would become very difficult for it to play the important role in democracy of checks and balances.

According to her, once the media loses its credibility, “it takes a very long time to establish it and when there is credibility, one has a stronger case for getting public support.”

Responsible media

She said a responsible media played a very important role in the development of a nation.

Ms Sullivan indicated that the development of the media landscape in the country over the last two decades had not been by coincidence but could be attributed to the kind of democracy being experienced by the country.

She cautioned, however, that it should also not be taken for granted as “democracy is fragile.”

She stressed the need to hold firmly and protect the freedom of the press and the country’s democracy so as not to retrogress.