US Embassy supports media with tools
The Embassy of the United States (US) in Ghana has presented some equipment to seven media and journalism organisations and institutions to deepen freedom of expression, the fight against corruption and ensure public accountability.
The items, presented through the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, include 30 laptop computers, high-resolution professional cameras and image projectors.
The beneficiaries include the Graphic Communications Group Ltd, the New Times Corporation and the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
The rest are the National Media Commission (NMC), the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), The Fourth Estate of the Media Foundation for West Africa, and Corruption Watch, a project of the Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana (CDD-Ghana).
Present at a short presentation event at the US Embassy in Accra yesterday were the immediate past Editor, Graphic, Kobby Asmah; his successor, Theophilus Yartey; News Editor, Daily Graphic, Samuel Doe Ablordeppey; the Editor, Ghanaian Times, Dave Agbenu; the Deputy Executive Secretary of the NMC, Alexander Bannerman; the Director, Administration, NMC, Paula Sanziri; the Director, Editorial, of the GNA, Beatrice Asamani Savage, and the Chief Editor, GNA, Agnes Boye-Doe.
Others were the acting Director, Radio, GBC, Yaw Opoku Agyapong; Seth Bokpe and Evans Aziamor-Mensah, both of The Fourth Estate, as well as Nana Ama Nartey and Francisca Enchill, both of Corruption Watch.
The Public Affairs Officer of the Embassy, Virginia Elliott and the Press Attache, Kevin brosnahan, were also present.
Rule of law
The Director of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Unit of the US Embassy, Chris Carlisle, presented the items to each of the recipient organisations, and said the donations were to advance the US government’s support for the rule of law and accountable governance in Ghana.
She said the rule of law and transparency were very key to accountable democracy, stressing that they enabled democracy to deliver justice and to build citizens’ confidence in governments.
Ms Carlisle said those two principles also helped the fight against corruption which undermined the fundamental promise of democracy itself, adding that the media houses and organisations being supported played critical roles in ensuring government transparency and in the fight against corruption.
“Corruption hurts all of us because it steals resources from the public, resources which could be used for schools, roads and for hospitals.
Corruption erodes public trust in government and democratic institutions,” she asserted.
Ms Carlisle said the media and civil society played an important role in combating corruption and upholding the rule of law, adding that by investigating and reporting on corruption, they held leaders accountable for their stewardship of state resources.
She said the US Embassy was aware that journalists and the media were not adequately resourced to go about their work, hence the support, and urged the recipients to put the equipment to good use.
Functional, symbolic gesture
The Executive Secretary of the NMC, George Sarpong, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the US Embassy for the gesture, which he described as both functional and symbolic.
“Functional because this provides us with resources to do our work,” adding that journalism was so crucial to the development of democracy.
He said democracy made better allies, hence any support that would enable the country to improve on its democracy also helped to sustain the friendship as democratic allies.
Mr Sarpong said friends usually helped each other as the gesture epitomised, stressing that it would not be taken for granted.
He also urged the beneficiary media houses and organisations to demonstrate value with the use of the equipment to justify the investment and to realise the intention of deepening freedom of expression and democracy in the country.
Mr Sarpong also appealed to the US Embassy to help with the organisation of a series of round-tables in the run-up to Ghana’s general election in 2024.
He said such discussions could feature experts from both Ghana and the US working around areas and dealing with issues relevant to strengthening democracy in Ghana.
In an interview, Mr Asmah, who just handed over the baton to his deputy as Editor, Graphic, welcomed the gesture and described it as timely.
“Today, media practice has gone beyond the pen and paper, and we need electronic devices (e-devices) such as laptops, smartphones, projectors and cameras to perform our duties efficiently,” he said.
Mr Asmah, who has served the media fraternity through the GCGL platform for more than 33 years, said the support from the US Embassy would go a long way to enhance efficiency in ensuring good governance and democratic accountability across the country.
While thanking the embassy for the support, he said the items would certainly be put to good use.