Media freedom threat coming from non-state actors — Prof. Gadzekpo
The Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, has cautioned media personnel not to be complacent about the robust press freedom in the country.
This is because the threat to press freedom was no more coming from governments and politicians alone but also from non-state actors.
‘’Press freedom is being eroded in little insidious ways and the threat is now from non-state actors and there was the need to safeguard it,’’ Prof. Gadzekpo declared at a press forum organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to mark the Constitution Week in Accra last Friday.
Right to Information Bill
Prof. Gadzekpo, therefore, called on the media to spearhead the advocacy on the Right to Information Bill currently before Parliament to ensure its early passage into law.
She observed that when RTI became law, it would help safeguard the freedom which was under attack from politicians and non-politicians alike.
She expressed the hope that journalists and other people wishing to provide information for the public good would be fully protected under the law.
Prof. Gadzekpo appealed to the media to set the agenda for its passage as soon as practicable.
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She said the idea of the RTI Bill was to protect media personnel, seeking not their own good but the good of the society.
The dean urged the media and the NCCE to speak on human rights violations in the country so as to remain relevant in the national discourse.
Core mandate of NCCE
A former Chairman of the National Media Commission, Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, urged the NCCE and the media to focus on the core mandate of the NCCE and NMC and assess their role in the light of the huge transformation that had occurred in the country since the inception of the two institutions 25 years ago.
Mr Blay-Amihere said the assessment would enable them to play their roles as the Fourth Estate of the realm and custodians of the constitution respectively.
Constitution and democracy
The Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd, Prof. Kwame Karikari, bemoaned the lifestyle of public office holders, especially politicians, amid the scarce national resources, explaining that a moderation on their part could help save a lot of resources to be channelled into other sectors of the economy.
He said if that was done, there would be no need to seek funding to support important institutions such as the NCCE whose mandate was to educate Ghanaians on civic rights to protect the Constitution and democracy on which the development of the country hinged.