Mon, 04 May 2020 Feature Article

Thoughts Of The Student Fisherman From Effutu: World Press Freedom Day

Thoughts Of The Student Fisherman From Effutu: World Press Freedom Day

The world at large, on Sunday, May 3, as has been the norm for some 27 years now, celebrated journalists, as world press freedom day; dubbed: Journalism without fear or favor. I personally do not belong to the inky fraternity but have several friends in it, hence have followed their deeds ever since I became 'awake' and started following happenings in our country with keen interest.

Journalists all over the world, and the practice of Journalism, has thus far become one of the promising vocations, and undoubtedly noble professions every young person would want to join. I believe journalists all over the world deserve praises, if not for any results, the mere fact that it is considered the fourth estate of the realm; "both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues", a feat other professions must definitely be 'envious' of. This depicts how 'powerful' professional journalism has become, and contributive, in terms of our governance system.

There is also, no gainsaying the fact that some journalists, have in the past conducted themselves in a manner that has called for genuine criticism and backlash, often affecting the entire profession, and denting its image to some extent, but this in no terms must affect the freedom and liberty of journalists in any way.

I highly commend journalists all over the world for their good work, especially journalists in Ghana.

Beyond the praise-singing and adulation, I have also read, largely, some opinions concerning the welfare of journalists; a considerable factor that can determine how professional or unprofessional a journalist can be. Some people have in the past raised similar concerns about how journalists strive to survive, often on the meagre remuneration they receive, hence exposing them to manipulation by some 'powerful hands' filled with money. This assertion cannot be in doubt. Some have therefore opined that, journalists be supported by the central government to enhance their wellbeing. This is an opinion some of us strongly disagree. There are some state owned press houses, but in our country, the private news media outnumber the state owned media, and everyone who have followed the contemporary practice of Journalism in Ghana will agree with me, that, the intrusion of government in any way would affect the freedom and versatility of journalists everyone would expect. We live in a part of the world where paymasters often determine what must be done, a phenomenon that can affect the powerful nature of the media we see today.

Journalists have over the years been one of the powers that has put governments on its toes, in terms of policy formulation and the execution of same, as well as the checking of the conduct of some public servants. Journalists joining these people on the same payroll, will largely determine how fair or unfair they would be in their quest to ensuring sanity in our governance; revealing the corruption in the public sector that has thus far crippled our growth and development as a country.

Just like any other profession, the involvement of individuals, ie privately owned entities, have existed to support government, and journalism must not be exempted. I strongly agree with Rupert Murdoch (CEO, News Corporation) in his article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal's online opinion on 8th December 2009, that, government funding of journalists can undermine the independence of journalists, and considered it to be a threat to competitive and unbiased press.

Time has rather come for the owners of privately owned press houses to deduce innovative ways of raising funds to better the lives of the journalists they've employed. All and sundry, including journalists, must also continue to put government on its toes to build the conducive environment needed for the survival of businesses, including the news media houses. Entrepreneurs in this area must do well to motivate its workers to deepen their freedom, without any form of monetary support from government, which is likely to affect the neutrality and independence of journalists in our country; which can by extension affect the sanity and purging journalists have contributed thus far, even though there is still more to be done, with regards to the cleansing of our system from corruption, etc, which has delayed our development in our 63 years of self-reliance as a country.

I support journalism without fear or favor !!

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024