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04.03.2009 Social News

Journalists asked to assist in fighting drug war

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Mrs. Mary Carlin Yates, a former United States Ambassador to Ghana, has asked journalists to assist traditional chiefs, fishermen and the security agencies to fight the illicit drug trade, illegal fishing and child trafficking along the coast.

She said a concerted effort by Ghanaian journalists would go a long way to safeguard and preserve society.

It would also help to prevent drug cartels from taking over the country, Mrs Yates who is also the Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities of the United States Africa Command said.

Mrs Yates said these at a round table discussion with selected journalists from the Western Region at the Western Naval Command (WNC) at Sekondi.

She toured the US Naval ship, USS Nashville, at the home port of the Western Naval Command in Sekondi and some fishing communities within the metropolis as part of the operations of the African Partnership station (APS).

The APS is an international security cooperation initiative aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships, maritime safety and security in West and Central Africa.

Mrs Yates said though challenges confronting the media were enormous, “you should not give up because you give a voice to your own people who cannot speak for themselves.”

“If you allow drug cartels to take over your country, it will take a long time to rid the society off the effects of the menace, adding, already Ghana is an example in democratic principles in Africa and the world, and she must, therefore, take control of its territorial security to safeguard the interests of the citizenry.

Mrs Yates noted that the media's role in the fight of the drug war was crucial and would go a long way to complement the efforts of the military and other international partners.

She appealed to the military to dialogue with the media to jointly educate the fishing communities and other groups adding, “grassroots education is vital for the total elimination of drugs from Ghana”.

Mrs. Yates reminded the media to demand accountability from politicians in accordance with the 1992 constitution and should not allow political influences, to interfere in their work for vulnerable groups.