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02.08.2005 General News

Media urged to be partners in development agenda


Cape Coast, Aug. 2, GNA- Mr Dan Botwe, the Minister of Information, has repeated calls on the media to be circumspect in their reportage and to be partners in the government's development agenda. He said the government would continue to be accessible, open and transparent in its activities and stressed the need for the media to reciprocate the gesture by working professionally to justify the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law.

The minister said this on Monday at a meeting with members of the Central Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists' Association (GJA) as part of his three-day working visit to the region.

Mr Botwe said he was unhappy about the heavy court fines imposed on some media houses and said the situation could be avoided if journalists had crosschecked their facts and avoided sensationalism. He said the harm such sensational stories caused to the reputation of their victims could never be compensated for by any amount the courts imposed on the perpetrators.

Mr Botwe said the government would work with the media, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the National Media Commission and that the ''Meet the Press'' series would be extended to the regions for government functionaries to account for their stewardship. He expressed concern about bureaucracy in departments and agencies in the regions where officials often tell journalists that they have to seek clearance from their head offices before giving out any information.

Mr Botwe appealed to the departments and agencies to be proactive so as to get the people well informed about government policies. During an open forum, Mr Philip Baidoo of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation expressed concern at the way some security men who accompanied the President and the Vice-President often heckled journalists.

Mr Ebow Sackey, the Regional Chairman of the GJA, spoke about the organization of this years' PANAFEST and said venues for events were changed without prior notices and appealed to the minister to rectify these anomalies to make PANAFEST 2007 much better.

Nana Ato Arthur, the Deputy Central Regional Minister, said the Regional Co-ordinating Council would be actively involved in the planning and organization of the festival in 2007 to forestall such situations.