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20.05.2005 General News

Media urge to be at the forefront of national devt

By GNA

Accra, May 20, GNA - The media has been asked to help develop a vision and direction for the country by focusing government and public attention on issues that could contribute to growth and poverty reduction.

Mr Ladi Nylander, Chief Executive and Partner of Johnson Wax, said the media was key to the successful sharing and implementation of any development and business agenda in the country's forward march to prosperity.

"The media's role in helping and influencing Ghanaians to implement that vision to lead to greater economic prosperity is most onerous, but as must now seem obvious, it is very much within the power of the media to do so," he said.

Mr Nylander was speaking on the topic: "Power of the Media in Business Development-Prospects and Challenges," at a symposium organized by the Ghana Journalists Association with sponsorship from the Media Foundation for West Africa.

The programme forms part of the GJA continuous education for journalists on topical national issues.

While praising the positive impact that liberalization of the airwaves and the removal of restrictions on newspapers had made on the country, Mr Nylander, however, criticized the increasing trivialization of issues on the airwaves to the detriment of national development. "Talk show hosts have to comment on an endless stream of issues. They do this without adequate research support. It seems as if the only qualification for the job is the ability to express opinions that often have no empirical grounding," he said.

Mr Nylander said the trivialization of issues was gradually eroding public interest in important subjects of the day, adding that, the current trend was dangerous and further escalation must be halted. "I submit that the surest guarantee for free speech in our country is the will of the people. So long as Ghanaians care for, demand and protect the right to free expression, no government will dare abridge this right. However, if we trivialize and abuse free speech in our papers and on the airwave, we will gradually erode public support for it," he added.

He asked journalists to be guided by history of the development of the press in the country, saying that, loss of support by government and the public in the press had always spelt disaster for the country.

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