Former President John Dramani Mahama, has postulated that an intimidated citizen will not constitute the appropriate resource for the sustenance of progress, growth and development of the country.
“We believe that the ability of the citizenry to express themselves freely is a right and not a privilege and this administration must learn to tolerate criticisms and enhance free speech while protecting journalists from harm, threats and intimidation,” he pointed out.
Ghana recently dropped 30 places to 60th globally and 10th in Africa on the World Press Freedom Index which is the country’s lowest-ever ranking in almost two decades, after it ranked 66th and 67th in 2005 and 2002, respectively.
The report, by Reporters Without Borders, stated, although the country is considered a regional leader in democratic stability, journalists have experienced growing pressures in recent years.
Former President Mahama noted that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration must show more determination, dedication and commitment towards promoting free speech and ensuring the protection of journalists.
In a statement to mark the birth of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), he raised concerns about suppression of the press, which he indicated had resulted in the media being cowed into silence for an intimidated citizen would not constitute the appropriate resource for sustainable progress, growth and national development.
The former President also implored the governing NPP to turn its focus on strengthening democracy in the country which went beyond enriching family, friends and cronies since it involved using the nation’s resources responsibly to address felt needs of all Ghanaians.
“The NDC also believes democracy goes beyond enriching family, friends and cronies because it involves using the nation’s resources responsibly to address the felt needs of the people and democracy, transparency, probity and accountability are bed fellows, while creating opportunities for all, leaders are also required to wage a strong battle against corruption,” former President Mahama contended.
BY TIMES REPORTER