Toward Right to Information society

Undoubtedly, Ghana has successfully hosted the all-important World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) that attracted 900 participants and 200 organisations from 90 countries across the world.

This historical event took place in a sub-region or continent where the media is not freely independent and safe to carry out its mandate and play its watchdog satisfactorily.

The simply reason is that, journalists still face challenges and their rights are abused in line of duty.

Unsurprisingly, Ghana stood tall by scoring high marks in the latest World Press Freedom Index, released by Reporters Without Borders, placing first on the continent for promoting freedom of speech, media pluralism and upholding the independence of the media, as well as ensuring the safety of journalists.

The wide range of topics discussed and the presentations at the three-day global event, has increased the level of knowledge of journalists and especially students’ of journalism who have been fed with enough literature to prepare them adequately for a world of work.

The public has also been enlightened about the work of journalists, the practice of journalism across the world with the expectation that society would be more resolute and stand up to defend the practice of journalism against abuse.

The Ghanaian Times is of the firm belief that society would reap benefits if they appreciated the work of journalists and are able to protect them from the very society that sometimes abuses their rights.

It is widely acknowledged that the media plays a significant role in the survival of society through the dissemination of the information and the education that society needs to improve its well-being, besides holding accountable public officials.

The hosting of the this year‘s WPFD, brings many dividends including enhancing and deepening our democracy and open governance that is likely to open other opportunities including the potential influx of investment and trade to boost our economy.

It is against this backdrop that we want to re-echo the appeal for the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) bill, which has been on the drawing board for a long time. The passage can improve our circumstances in relation to good governance and socio-economic development.

We recalled that Ghana in 2011, signed up to the Open Governance Partnership Initiative(OGPI), an international initiative that seeks to secure concrete commitment from governments to promote transparency, enhance citizens participation, promote accountability and adopt new technologies to enhance good governance.

Ghana signed up to the OGPI, soon after it was adopted by the founding governments of Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

It is our expectations that our commitment to open government where the citizens are empowered to play active role in democratic governance would encourage Parliament to use the same zeal to pass the RTI bill into law.

We believe that the RTI bill has now been fine-tuned and can withstand the test of time when passed and assented into law.

While we commend the government, especially the Ministry of Information for an excellent job, we take the opportunity to appeal to Parliament to pass the RTI bill for the benefit of the country.

 

 

 

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