Media’s crusade against ‘galamsey’ kicks off

Coalation PixThe media yesterday took a giant step in the fight against illegal gold mining known as “galamsey” with the launch in Accra of the “Media Coalition against Illegal Mining.”

The launch of the campaign seeks to heighten public awareness of the menace of galamsey and to court support to get rid of the activities of illegal miners.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, urged the media to be firm and name and shame any “big shot” involved in the operations of this illegal mining.

He said such big shots including politicians and chiefs were not bigger than the media and urged journalists to use their outlets to complement government’s efforts in the galamsey fight.

The coalition is made up of News Times Corporation (NTC), Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Private Newspaper Publishers Association (PRINPAG), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Ghana Community Radio Network and Christian Council of Ghana.

As part of the campaign, the coalition is seeking the signatures of at least one million Ghanaians to petition President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye to put weight behind the campaign to dislodge the illegal miners.

A steering committee made up of representatives of the collaborating partners was set up to drive the campaign to achieve the desired result.

Galamsey has gained notoriety in the country and has left in its wake degraded forest, pollution of water bodies and sources of drinking water for communities, violent conflicts and reduction of agricultural productivity.

The media campaign comes on the heels of the launch, last month by the government, of the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project to, among other things; confront illegal mining using a three tier approach.

It involves enforcing the regulatory framework, using technology like drones to track illegal gold miners and deepening community engagement in the fight against galamsey.

There have been two swoops on illegal gold miners in 2006 and 2014 by the security agencies but the initiative had not resulted in the desired effects.

It would be recalled that Mr Amewu, on March 28, gave a three-week ultimatum to all illegal miners to stop their activities or face the full rigours of the law.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Kofi Adda, in a solidarity message, lauded the initiative of the media in the fight against galamsey, noting that their efforts would complement the work of the ministry in protecting the country’s rich water resources for the use of generations.

The Minister of Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid taking his turn at the launch said government had no excuse to lose the fight against galamsey considering the media support it was receiving.

He said the fact that the issue had taken centre stage in media discussions was an indication that the country was united in the effort to set the country free from the effects of galamsey.

The Minister of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Frimpong Boateng for his part said neighbouring Ivory Coast was unhappy with Ghana as the practice was affecting its water bodies.

According to the Minister, the situation was brought to his attention when he attended a conference in Abidjan, adding that he assured the country that Ghana was serious about the fight against galamsey.

The Managing Director of the New Times Corporation, Ms. Carol Annang said the effect of the menace affected everyone and that it was the duty of the current generation to protect the environment for posterity.

She said the media would do whatever it takes to stop galamsey, “even if it cost our lives to stop the practice,” cautioning that perpetrators would be exposed.

There were other solidarity messages from representatives from the collaborating partners.

The Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, who was also the chairman for the occasion, challenged journalists to put pressure on government in ensuring that the fight against galamsey was won.

 

By Times Reporter

 

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