At the 23rd edition of GJA awards: Stop assault on journalists . Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

The Minister of Information-Designate, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, has said government will soon roll-out a media capacity enhancement programme to upgrade the skills and abilities of Ghanaian journalists.

The programme is to enable them to contribute effectively to national development.

He stated that the programme would be realised through a collaboration with the National Media Commission, Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), School of Communications of the University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) as well as all other relevant institutions.

Speaking at the 23rd edition of the GJA Awards in Accra on Saturday, Mr Oppong- Nkrumah said that government had also prioritised the strengthening of state media agencies as part of efforts to deepen the media’s role in advancing national development.

He urged the Ghanaian media to focus on telling the Ghanaian story that ought to be told and use their platforms to showcase the country’s history and potentials for investment and growth.

On media owners, Mr Oppong-Nkrumah urged them to provide better conditions of service to journalists to ensure the best in the industry were maintained for quality contents.

He said government would not relent on ensuring that people who assault journalists were brought to book noting that it was currently working with the Ghana Police to bring finality to the assault case involving journalists from Joy FM in Accra.

The Information Minister-Designate condemned all acts of violence against journalists and called for investigations and prosecutions for people involved with the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Delivering her speech, Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo commended the Ghanaian media for using investigative journalism to expose wrongdoing and criminal acts which were not of the public’s interest and damaging to societal growth.

She noted that although investigative journalism was risky, it has been intensified with the aid of information technology and modern gadgets which has allowed journalists to operate easily and efficiently undercover.

The influx of social media, she said has culminated in increased public interest in investigative reports and accompanying demand for probity and accountability as well as quick application of the law.

The result of the growing openness and transparency, the Chief Justice said was an expansion of the frontiers of free expression in the country.

As guaranteed under the constitution, individual’s right to privacy remains paramount in all instances but in the event of a criminal act especially those that affects the public, she said the media was thus invited to pry in to keep the public in the known.

Chief Justice however cautioned that in matters of breach of privacy, limits of investigative journalism and public interest, evidence was relevant for delivery of justice.

She said investigative journalism was an indispensable tool for the media to undertake their responsibility to people’s right to know and urged the Ghanaian media to leverage it to expose societal ills.

President of GJA, Affail Monney, joined in the condemnation of the murder of Saudi journalist, Kamal Khashoggi, and called on journalists across the globe to rise up to defend and demand freedom which was the essence of the profession.

He reiterated calls on the government to expedite the passage of the Right to Information Bill and the Broadcasting Bill to enable the operation of the media in the country.

Among other initiatives, the GJA, he said was undertaking an affordable housing scheme and insurance cover for members to improve the welfare of journalists and address homelessness.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

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