GJA, GIJ, UNESCO hold forum on World Radio Day

The Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the Ghana Commission for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) yesterday jointly held a forum to mark this year’s World Radio Day (WRD) in Accra.

Celebrated on February 13 every year since 2011, the 10th edition is being marked on the theme, “New world, new radio,” with emphasis on its evolution, innovation and connection.

The programme was attended by the Deputy Rector of GIJ, Professor Eric Opoku-Mensah,and Secretary General of the Ghana Commission for UNESCO, Mrs AmaSerwahNerquaye-Tetteh, and the President of GJA, Roland AffailMonney.

Veteran Radio Broadcaster and Lecturer at Wisconsin University, Ghana, Mr Teye Kitcher, as well as some members of the Faculty of Journalism and Media Studies and the Department of Integrated Social Sciences and students of GIJ were present at the programme.

In his remarks,Mr Monney  who is also a  and former Director of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC Radio) with more 36 years of experience in the field commended broadcasters in the country for their role in national enlightenment and development.

He noted that the Fourth Republic of the country witnessed a liberation in radio broadcast industry, and said that radio had to be credited as the architecture of peace in the country.

He said that, lately, “Ghanaians do not merely listen. They actively, and sometimes, aggressively participate in the governance structure through radio which creates platforms for them to articulate their views, ventilate their concerns and hold to account, people in positions of power.

He however bemoaned unethical practices of some radio broadcasters and called for attitudinal change, and said there was the need for “a critical follow action by media practitioners and regulators should be deliberate move to sanitise the airwaves and deodorise the stench from some of the programmes we consume.”

Mr Monney emphasised that, “Owners and operators in the radio industry must pass the trinity test of evolution, innovation and connection by adapting to the dynamics of the industry, investing more in modern technology and leveraging the power of radio to address social challenges like the insidious coronavirus.”

The Deputy Rector of GIJ, Prof Eric Opoku-Mensahindicated that the celebration was an opportunity to recognise the effort of media practitioners particularly radio broadcasters to national development and applauded them for their efforts over time.

Prof Opoku-Mensah however said, looking at the Ghanaian media landscape, there was the need for a paradigm shift of radio being a medium of disseminating information to being a medium for transforming society and a channel of free speech, and charged radio broadcasters to be ethical in the discharge of their duties.

In her remarks Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh said that the celebration of WRD had highlighted the extent to which radio which was developed about 110 years ago remained essential to contemporary society.

She also said that the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) had accentuated the growing importance of radio which had proved its resilience in every dispensation.

“It has helped to save lives by making it possible to relay health instructions, make reliable information accessible and combat hate speech,” she said and underscored that “more than ever, we need this universal humanist medium, and a vector of freedom.”

“Without radio the right to information and freedom of expression, fundamental freedoms would be weakened, as would cultural diversity, since community radio stations are the voices of the voices,” Mrs Nerquaye-Tetteh emphasised.

BY FRANCIS NTOW

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