The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has asked President John Evans Atta Mills to keep to his promise of seeing to the enactment of the Freedom of Information Law. It has thus asked the President to expedite action on his word it will go a long way to strengthen his quest to run an open and transparent government devoid of any corrupt practices.
President of the Association and Editor of the Daily Graphic newspaper, Ransford Tetteh, who made this statement at the Association's Emergency General Meeting held in Accra on Friday, said "we hope that President Mills, who by his presidency automatically becomes the GJA's Chief Patron of Press Freedom, will help ensure that the law is formulated in such a way as to enhance the free flow of information and satisfy best practices in democracies elsewhere in the world."
According to him, the GJA is encouraged by the declaration of the President in his State of the Nation's address to Parliament, in which he pledged his government's commitment to transparency and accountability.
“We believe that this is what has made President Mills to state that his government will work towards the enactment of the Freedom of Information Law,” he emphasized.
In his annual report, General Secretary of the GJA, Bright Blewu said the year 2008 was hectic. According to him, the high competitive spirit that characterized the whole electioneering process placed a huge responsibility on the shoulders of all stakeholders, especially the media.
“Even as our role as journalists in the success of the 2008 election still remain an issue of public debate, the Association wishes to congratulate the media for their general satisfactory performance; but in doing so, we wish to admit our faults as well, especially in the area of broadcast journalism and particularly in the field of radio,” he noted.
He continued that “radio stations that engaged in dangerous broadcasting standards may have been a few, but we are of the view that if we do not as a 'family' honestly carry out some soul searching, we will wrongly be endorsing those acts of omission and commission by some of us, thereby contributing to making general elections a frightful democratic ritual.”
To help avert this situation, he said the Association was making all necessary efforts to plan programmes that will bring journalists together to reflect on their work for the last general elections and to provide the media the opportunity to frankly and dispassionately evaluate their own performance.
The Association believes that such an exercise will help to adopt the necessary measures to ensure that those in the media do not repeat some of those dangerous mistakes in the next general elections.
For him, the situation brought to the fore the urgent need for a Broadcasting Law to help regulate the broadcasting industry in Ghana.
The year 2009 marks the 60th anniversary celebration of the Ghana Journalists Association. As a result a fitting celebration is being planned to be climaxed with the 14th GJA awards ceremony scheduled for August 15, 2009, to coincide with the founding day.
Meanwhile, the Association will be going to the polls on July 9, 2009, to elect its national officers.