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24.04.2005 Politics

Media urge to use power to advance constitutionalism

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Accra, April 24, GNA - The Apintohene of Wassa West Traditional Area, Nana Kwabena Angu II, on Saturday urged the media to use their enhanced power and influence to advance constitutionalism in the country. While commending the media for their bold initiative in exposing ills of society, promoting good governance, protecting human rights, there is the need to support government's institutional efforts to sustain democratic governance in the country.

Speaking to newsmen about the 5th Constitution Week celebration scheduled for April 28 to May 4, Nana Angu described the media as an indispensable player in developing the culture of constitutionalism and accountability.

He therefore, courted the media to support the efforts of the National Commission for Civic Education, organiser of the annual event to generate the necessary public awareness.

He said, "it is the constitutional obligation of media practitioners to defend and promote good governance, as enshrined under Article 162(2), which states ".... all agencies of the mass media shall uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people of Ghana."

Nana Angu, who is also the Chief of Awuduah expressed concern about the resort to half-truths, rumours, conjecture and outright falsehood, by some media practitioners and media houses.

These forms of reportage eventually damage their credibility and undermine their ability to promote vertical accountability.

The Apintohene noted that, "just as responsible journalism enhances constitutionalism, so does irresponsible journalism undermines it". He said journalists must be mindful of the fact that the constitution accords them special status not so as to protect their own personal or corporate interest but primarily, to enable them protect the interest of the people of Ghana.

He, therefore, called on the National Media Commission and media houses to give greater attention to both word and deed on the issue of professional ethics and discipline among members of the profession. On the role of traditional authority for the promotion of Constitutionalism, Nana Angu said there is the need for a pragmatic and guided revision of the Constitution to integrate it with traditional values in line with multi-party democratic governance.

He said this would ensure that the principles of good governance were upheld in order to propel the nation forward.

Nana Angu called for the consideration of traditional values, modernisation and the principles of good governance to uphold democratic rule.

He said traditional authority is ready to collaborate with the National Commission for Civic Education, the Commonwealth Human Rights Africa Regional Office in Accra to launch a campaign to educate chiefs on the tenets of the Constitution, good governance and the human rights protection.

The National Constitution Week was instituted in 2001 to enable Ghanaians to participate in discussions, debates, theatre performances and other activities on the constitution to make it "a living document embodied in our minds and hearts for the attainment of democracy and good governance."

According to NCCE, the institutionalisation was as a result of an urgent demand for knowledge and information on the constitution to accelerate the growth and sustenance of democracy and constitutionalism in the country.

The Fifth Constitutional Week celebration is on theme: "Reducing Poverty Through Citizens' Participation in Local Government," was dedicated to broadening the principles of participatory democracy. It is aimed at contributing to a more open, inclusive and transparent society and will strengthen democratic institutions and the culture of democracy, provide an environment under which poverty could be reduced rapidly.

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