‘Right to Information Bill will be passed before end of year’

Mr Mustapha Hamid,Minister of Information

Mr Mustapha Hamid,Minister of Information

The Minister of Information, Mustapha Abdul Hamid has pledged that the Right to Information Bill will be passed into law before the end of the year.

He said the bill was currently before cabinet for perusal and discussion.

Mr Hamid disclosed this in Accra on Tuesday at a media forum to launch a website for the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) study under the theme, “The media industry in Ghana: the critical issues of ownership, transparency and regulation.”

The MOM which is a three-month study to highlight media ownership in Ghana was conducted by the MFWA and Reporters Without Borders (RWB), an international non-governmental organisation that promotes freedom of the media across the world.

Mr. Hamid who chaired the programme also hinted that government was working to pass the Broadcasting Bill into law next year and the Advertising Association Bill in 2019, adding that when passed into law, it would enhance information sharing and sanitise the radio and advertising industries.

Mr Hamid lauded MFWA and RWB for the forum and the launch of the MOM website, and said that the discussion on media ownership was relevant and was not meant to criticise the media, but to know the people behind the media in Ghana.

Mr. Hamid said the suggestions given at the programme on issues of regulations, incentives to promote community radio and media ownership would be fed into a National Economic Development policy which would be presented to Parliament for scrutiny

The Executive Director of MFWA, Sulemana Braimah said the MOM highlighted on transparency, audience concentration, regulation, political affiliation and gender, adding that the study revealed that there was lack of transparency and limited information on media ownership in the country.

Mr Braimah on media concentration said the two state-owned print media and Western Publications Limited and Business and Financial Times dominate the print media and private companies dominate the broadcasting media.

The Executive Director also said majority of the media, particularly radio, were owned by politicians, and stated that “scarce and incomplete ownership information as well as conflict of interest between politics and ownership is a phenomenon that illustrate the prevailing weakness of the regulatory system,” he said.

On gender, Mr Braimah said the Ghanaian “media ownership and management is male-dominated.”

The President of RWB, Dr Michael Rediske said his organisation was working across the world for the protection of journalists and media.

He said journalists and media should be free from government and state censorship and repression, adding that that was critical to promote free expression.

 

CAPTION: Mr. Mustapha Hamid

 

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