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05.05.2004 General News

USAID pledges support for independent media

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Accra, May 5, GNA - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday pledged its support to individuals and countries struggling to provide independent, professional and objective news and information to citizens around the globe.

A release by the Public Affairs Section of the United States of America Embassy in Accra in commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day, said: "We recognize the critical role an independent media plays in the overall development and sustainability of democracy."

It said a free media was essential for economic growth as companies and investors relied on the free flow of accurate information for investment decision-making.

The release said a free media was required for the eradication of diseases; for the resolution of social conflict and for the development of new methods to educate the youth.

"Print and broadcast media play a critically important role in shaping the lives of youngsters around the world. Training of qualified writers and broadcasters is required so that the young and old alike understand the global implications of local events", it said. The release said USAID's efforts to support developing Journalists and broadcasters included training, technical expertise, direct grants for production, media law advice and business management training. It said USAID would continue to support Journalists who take risks to seek the truth and provide citizens with professional and objective information.

"We are proud of those whom we have supported in the past and look forward to the development of free media systems worldwide", it said. Chief Justice announces set up of courts inspectorate division Wa, May 5, GNA - A courts inspectorate division to give impetus to the Chief Justice's crusade against corruption and lack of transparency in the administration of justice in the country, is to be established. The division to be inaugurated in Accra in October, this year, will be headed by a judge and will work alongside the existing complaints unit to support and strengthen its functions.

The Chief Justice, Mr. George Kingsley Acquah announced this when he addressed judges and staff of the Judicial Service in Wa on Tuesday. The Chief Justice is on a week-long familiarisation tour of the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper West and Upper East Regions.

The visit is to enable him get first hand information on issues pertaining to court premises, and also brief the staff on his vision on transformation for the judiciary and the Judicial Service as well as on matters affecting the welfare of the staff of the service.

Justice Acquah said among other functions, the inspectorate division would conduct unannounced visits and inspection of judges records, examine account books of accountants of the service in any part of the country.

He explained that this measure is aimed at ensuring honesty, transparency and efficiency in the work of judges and staff of the service.

The Chief Justice said his vision for transformation in the judiciary is to restore the confidence of Ghanaians in rulings and judgement given by the courts.

Justice Acquah expressed his desire to see a time when an aggrieved person who loses a case at the court would accept the judgement as being the true reflection of his case and not because somebody had influenced the presiding judge.

He therefore, called on judges to go about their work with the greatest transparency, and devoid of corruption to win the confidence of Ghanaians in their judgements.

Justice Acquah also expressed his determination to bring the administration of justice to the door steps of Ghanaians disclosing that new courts would be opened in as many towns as possible, which he hoped would also reduce the incidence of people taking the law into their own hands.

In his welcoming address, Mr. Justice Chiri Adama, the Supervising High Court Judge at Wa expressed the gratitude of staff of the service for the visit as the visit afforded them the opportunity for them to personally interact with him.

He noted that the visit is the first by an incumbent Chief Justice to the region, which demonstrates his desire to transform the Judicial Service.

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