PRESIDENTIAL MEDIA ENCOUNTER: OUR PERSPECTIVE

The President on Wednesday engaged the media to account for his stewardship for the two years that he has been in office, in line with the fledgling democratic culture of demystifying the Presidency and bringing the President closer to the people.

We at The Ghanaian Times applaud the initiative from the Presidency to get closer to the media and interact with them, to answer some of the nagging questions bothering the minds of the people. Indeed, our democracy is growing and we need to sustain the initiative and make it better, as the years go by.

Significantly, such encounters are very useful for our democracy as they engender mutual trust and respect and improve our democratic culture of tolerance and respect for divergent views and dissenting opinions.

We appreciate it that the President has been able to answer the questions and ordered some of his ministers to respond to those which were related to their ministries. Indeed, we do not expect the President to be a repository of answers to all questions.

Already, the media engagement has generated debates in a section of the media and the public on the time allotted for the engagement and the limited questions that the invited journalists were allowed to file.

Inasmuch as we would have wished the engagement could take a longer time, so that as many more journalists would have the opportunity to pose as many questions to the President for him to respond to, we also appreciate the need for time management.

The reactions, by a section of the media and the public over the time allotted and the limited questions allowed at the encounter, in our view, is normal, given the different perspectives we have issues of the nation citizens and not spectators.

We believe that it might not be possible for the President and his ministers to answer all questions from all journalists at an event, because time will not permit it.

In fact, we can vouch that the relationship between the government and the people have improved over the years, through such  Presidential encounters, weekly meet-the-press, town hall meetings, and national policy summits.

Additionally, governments over the years have taken measures to improve the dissemination of relevant information in order to deepen the process of accountability and ensure that there is collective ownership of government policies, programmes and projects meant for the good of the people.

It is our considered opinion that Presidential encounters with the media are better than none, irrespective of the modalities involved.

We believe that the President has gained useful insight from the Wednesday encounter which was certainly his last with the media, for the year.

Our democracy is growing and we believe there is much room for improvement. However we hope that, as a listening government, the President would take on board all the views, suggestions and concerns raised and address them in subsequent engagements.

We urge the President to continue to demystify the Presidency and bring it himself closer to the “local media” by finding more time to engage with journalists in his subsequent regional tours.

We wish him well, and the country too!!

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