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General News of Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

Make state owned media independent – GJA to Akufo-Addo

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) wants state owned media to become independent when the new government takes over in January 2017.

GJA’s demand comes on the back of Akufo-Addo’s criticism of the state broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) prior to the December 7 polls.

Akufo-Addo boycotted the presidential debate organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and GBC and accused the state broadcaster of acting “like a propaganda wing of the ruling party.”

“The GJA has taken note of the President-elect’s accusation of the state-owned media of bias in their reportage. We on their behalf take the criticism in good faith. Although we do not wish to hold brief for them, we at the same time request that under Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration, the necessary reforms would be carried out to strengthen freedom and independence of the state-owned media in particular,” the GJA said in a statement to congratulate the president-elect and signed by its President, Affail Monney.

GJA further urged the president-elect to pass the Broadcasting Law as well as the Right to Information Law which has been at the consideration stage for over a decade now.

“We are confident that the President-elect when he takes office would apply that same zeal in ensuring the enactment of a Broadcasting Law and the Right to Information Law, which was under wrangling in the out-going Parliament. Both laws will be crucial not only in promoting excellence in journalism but also improving the general information flow.”

Below is the full statement:

GJA Congratulates President-Elect Nana Akufo-Addo

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) wishes to congratulate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on his election as the President of Ghana.

The Association considers his election to the highest office of the land a credit to his perseverance and tenacity in the service of Ghanaian politics, the defense of human rights and loyalty to democracy. We note with admiration, his determination never to give up on his dreams of becoming President by contesting the position this year despite losing on two pervious occasions as flag-bearer of his party, the New Patriotic Party.

The Association is confident that his rise through the fight for democracy and political development in Ghana’s recent history, especially as a human rights activist through the Movement for Freedom and Justice, the “Kumipreko” demonstrations and his role in setting up the Ghana Committee for People’s and Human Rights, a non-governmental organization in defence and education on human rights in Ghana would continue to shape his plans and programmes concerning the development of the country.

The GJA recalls the critical role the First Gentleman of the land in-waiting played when he was Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under the Kufuor Administration in the repeal of the Criminal Libel and Sedition Law in August 2001.

His experience and expertise can therefore not be in doubt and we hope that he will bring them to bear, to enhance good governance and democratic development of Ghana. We are confident that the President-elect when he takes office would apply that same zeal in ensuring the enactment of a Broadcasting Law and the Right to Information Law, which was under wrangling in the out-going Parliament. Both laws will be crucial not only in promoting excellence in journalism but also improving the general information flow.

The GJA has taken note of the President-elect’s accusation of the state-owned media of bias in their reportage. We on their behalf take the criticism in good faith. Although we do not wish to hold brief for them, we at the same time request that under Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration, the necessary reforms would be carried out to strengthen freedom and independence of the state-owned media in particular. We have already cited the importance of the passage of a Broadcasting Law and Right to Information Law.

The Association also proposes a system under which state-owned media houses which receive government subventions do not take them directly from any ministry but instead from the National Media Commission and with Parliamentary oversight. Such reforms are necessary to free state-owned media in particular from subtle governmental intimidation.

The GJA pledges to collaborate and support the continued promotion of press freedom and media accountability in Ghana, which we know the President-elect has always stood for.

Although he has openly expressed his misgivings about excesses in the Ghanaian media, we hope he will remain a strong protagonist of freedom and independence of the media. It is our hope that under his presidency Ghana will undertake policies and programmes that inspire excellence in the Ghanaian media. The Association wishes the president-elect God’s guidance in his new position and assures him of the GJA’s cooperation in the enhancement of functional democracy.

SIGNED

Affail Monney