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05.11.2008 General News

Stop Reckless Reportage!

By Clement Adze Boye, Takoradi - newtimesonline.com

The Executive Director of the West Africa Media Foundation (MFWA), Professor Kwame Karikari, has condemned “the recklessness in the media,”  saying journalists must change if they really need the Right to Information Bill.

He said it was imperative for media practitioners to desist from such careless practices, noting that if that was not changed, “the best of laws will be useless”.

Professor Karikari, said this last Friday at an advocacy workshop on the bill organised for civil society and the media in the Western Region by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

He noted that governments all over the world even in the US, were very reluctant in giving out information, particularly to the media, as they would always want to remain in power.

Prof  Karikari  therefore warned civil society, especially advocates of the RTI Bill “to have no illusion about the difficulty to get the bill passed.”

He called for a strong advocacy and vigilance of supporters of the bill and identified certain opportunities that could be explored to ensure that the bill came into fruition citing the sovereign atmosphere of open discussion, capacity of expression and the free media landscape.

He called for an effective records keeping system to ensure that the information given out were accurate.

“If we do not insist on accurate information, the government will tell us they have the information,” he warned.

A member of the Ghana Bar Association, Akoto Ampaw, was grateful that the bill was not rushed so as to avoid passing a mutilated bill.

He asked civil society to be active in the campaign for the RTI urging that the law should be accessible, free from legal language and not to be bogged down by time.

He called for the reduction of the 21 days provision in the bill for accessing official information to 10.

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