Mrs Oboshie Sai Cofie, Minister for Information and National Orientation Addressing Participants
Hon Oboshie Sai Cofie, Minister for Information and National Orientation (MINO), has underlined the need for a harmonised relationship between political leadership of the country and the media, particularly during election years.'
She pointed out that the need for good relationship between the two professional bodies cannot be under-estimated since media practitioners and politicians have crucial roles to play to ensure success of elections.
Mrs Sai Cofie was addressing a workshop for senior media personnel and leaders of political parties, organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) at Atimpoku in the Eastern Region at the weekend under the theme: 'Democracy And The Media: Media Political Parties Relationship In An Election Year.'
The Minister reminded participants that democracy and the media are probably two key institutions that support economic development and encourage growth of the national economy.
'Understanding and promoting a good and effective relationship between political parties and the media must be the key to Ghana's continued peace, security and economic improvement,' she said.
The Minister called for a total understanding of how principles and practices of a media policy may be reconciled to the practice of good governance and democracy in the country.
Mrs Sai Cofie said there is the need to refine the performance of politicians and media personnel to understand the need to 'fine-tune the lines between what the public need to know and individual privacy.'
She added that there is also the need to adhere to critical requirement of accuracy and desired submission to strict proof and the role of regulatory bodies such as the Media Commission.
The others are definitive role of the national service broadcaster, GBC, interventions in the media, censorship and how to effectively and completely implement the constitutional command for an even media playing field.
According to the Minister, these could assist both parties to foster a 'trusting, respectful, professional and mutually beneficial relationship between the media and politicians especially in an election year.
Hon Sai Cofie said President Kufuor's Government has been extremely committed and highly receptive to the idea and practice of media freedom, freedom of speech and information and the right to be heard and hear.
She disclosed that government, as part of its commitment to expand access to information under the e-Ghana Project, has considered for capacity building and upgrading the National Media Commission, National Communications Authority, Ghana Institute of Journalism, NAFTI and some institutions under MINO including Information Services Department.
Mrs Jean Mensa, an administrator at the IEA said journalists have the duty to test truth, contest ideas, expose wrongs and weigh visions.
She said the practice of journalism in Ghana has not always been doom and gloom, but have expanded the frontiers of democracy, upheld accountability, highlighted national anomalies for corrective action, crusaded against injustice and been a voice to the voiceless.
Mrs Mensa said IEA is happy to collaborate with the media on many initiatives and hoped participants will use the workshop to sharpen their perspectives, forge alliances and renew commitment to the nation.
Mr Affail Monney, vice president of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) said the media must play its role professionally, always alert to expose 'the dark spots' without malice.
He said objectivity is not a luxury in an election year adding, 'It is a gem that must be seen.' Journalists can be objective and be opened to all political parties, Mr Monney said.
The GJA vice president urged the media to reach out to less endowed political parties to help bridge the publicity gap. He also advised the media to keep to the ethics of the profession so that they would not be drawn into political conflicts.