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03.11.2008 General News

Chief Accuses Media Of Undermining Democracy

By Clement Adzei Boye, Takoradi - newtimesonline.com

Clement Adjei Boye, Takoradi

THE local media appears to be losing its grip on society and is undermining democracy, governance and national security, the Omanhen of Essikado Nana Kobina Nketsia has stated.

“At times, I tend to think that they  (media) seem not only to be undermining democracy but also appear to be at the forefront at fostering a state of insecurity”,  he stated.

The Essikado Omanhen was also concerned about the phenomenon of social commentators saying  “one cannot  help but pray for this nation”.

“They seem bent on gradually losing  integrity and trust”, he stressed.  

Nana Nketsia expressed this  worry when he chaired a Western regional workshop on the  Right to Information  Advocacy  Bill organised by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative,  Africa office, and the Coalition on the Right to Information Bill.

The workshop  was  to build the capacity of  participants drawn from the media, records office and civil society and also  to strengthen networks among them.

Nana Nketsiah said he wondered whether information in the media could ever serve as a reference point for future research.

“As a historian, I am worried about what I find in the Ghanaian media and I wonder if one day researchers would use information from the contemporary Ghanaian media to write history”.

He  said information generated by the media had most times been subjected to all forms of interpretations and often  misinterpreted.

He said he had often been a subject of such misinterpretations and distortions and did not know whether such distortions were deliberate or accidental.

The Deputy Minister of the Western Region, Kwesi Blay, said that some media houses had not exercised any circumspection “in putting information on air”.

He was equally worried about instances when private issues were discussed in public.

“This therefore gives real cause for concern in releasing information.

The practicality of making the concept of the Right to Information bill operational is not as simple as that”, Mr Blay said.

He, however, believed that citizens had the right to access information so as to dispel rumour-mongering.

The Western Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Nana Amua-Sekyi, said information generated with public money should not be kept secret from the public.

Lack of information, she said denies people the opportunity to develop to the fullest and realise their human rights.

“Access to information gives the citizens the legal power to attack the legal and institutional impediments to openness and accountability”, she added.

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