The world’s media, yesterday celebrated the 2017 World Press Freedom Day, on a global theme: “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in Advancing Peaceful, Just and Inclusive societies”.

The day was set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness on the importance of press freedom and remind governments of their duty to respect the right to freedom of expression.

It is celebrated worldwide in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist assassinated in 1986, and for the past 20 years, Press Freedom Day has been marked with the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

Significantly, throughout the world various activities are held to mark the day, which represents a very important day on the calendar of the media fraternity.

In Ghana, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) marked the day on a local theme “Ghana still in search of Right to Information (RTI) Law and the Broadcasting Law: Is Parliament in a dilemma?”

According to the GJA, it chose the theme mainly because the process to give Ghana a Right to Information Law under the fourth Republic has dragged on for about 15 years, and has still not yielded anything concrete.

Just as the two previous governments, Parliament under the Mahama administration also failed to pass the Right To Information (RTI) bill into law.

As a matter of fact, the bill, which has been around since 2002, was left at the consideration stage until that house dissolved, and a new one took office in January, this year.

The GJA and other civil society groups are concerned about the long delay in the passage of the law, which it believes is retarding progress in the empowerment and active participation of the people in governance.

The association and most Ghanaians believe that without easy access to reliable information, it would be difficult for Ghanaians to make informed choices concerning important issues.

No doubt, it is only when there is a conscious effort to provide credible information to the public and media personnel that Ghana stands a better chance of strengthening the values of transparency, probity and accountability in her democracy.

Thankfully, addressing the forum organised by the GJA, the Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid, gave a firm assurance that the bill would be passed during the next sitting of Parliament.

The Times would hold him to his words, and hope that we would not be disappointed this time around.

As we celebrate yet another Press Freedom Day, we want to salute all media personnel, for upholding free press and freedom of expression in the country.

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