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06.07.2004 General News

Freedom of Information Act is not only for journalists

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Accra, July 6, GNA - Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, Editor of the Daily Graphic on Tuesday said it would be wrong for anyone to suggest that the enactment of a Freedom of Information Act would benefit the media alone; hence journalists persistent call for it.

He said the Act was about everyone and not just for journalists because society thrives on the availability and access of information, which were vital for the consolidation of the democracy and good governance.

Speaking at a reception held in honour of delegates of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association currently attending a conference in Accra, Mr Ayeboafo said it was important for all to realise that the media and journalists were at the forefront in the fight to entrench democracy and freedom of expression.

He said democracy thrived on knowledgeable people who had access to a wide range of information, which enables them to participate fully in the affairs of their society.

"This is imperative because open debate leads to the establishment of greater truths and more informed decision than where dissent is stifled," he held.

Mr Ayeboafo referred to the September 11 attacks on the US and said answers to issues relating to the unfortunate event should clearly point to the fact that any society that fails to recognise or appreciate the importance of the media wreak havoc on its people.

He quoted article 21 of the Constitution, which enjoins all persons to have the right to information as well as statements of local and international personalities, to buttress the need for legislation for a Freedom of Informational Act.

"Governance is communication, but as society grows, it becomes complex and this has resulted in the key role of the mass media". Mr Simione Kaitani of the Fiji Islands, who spoke on behalf of the delegation, said it was the desire of the Commonwealth that its members recognise the importance of legislation for a freedom of information.

He said the delegation's presence in Ghana was in acknowledgment of the fact that most Commonwealth members were having difficulties implementing the Act, which would guarantee people the opportunity freely and boldly participate in the development of their own countries.

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