Ghana observed this year’s World Press Freedom Day with a promise by the government to ensure the promulgation of the Right to Information Bill to expand the frontiers of freedom.
Information Minister, Mr John Tia Akologo, who gave the assurance, said the Right to Information Law would be a critical tool to enhance media professionalism and ethical journalism in the country.
He said the passage of the bill would inspire media practitioners to practise qualitative journalism and spur them on to even greater heights to promote truth, good governance, freedom, justice, peace and democracy.
Speaking at a flag-raising ceremony to mark the day in Accra, Mr Akologo said the bill, when passed, would strengthen the role of the media in promoting transparency and accountability in the country.
The theme of the day was: “Freedom of Information; the Right to Know”.
The United Nations, in 1993, declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The minister said information in every aspect was important for national development and the right to know was even more fundamental.
He said it was important for Ghanaians to have the right information on government policies and opportunities at their disposal for them to make informed choices in their investment and career building.
On the broadcasting law, he said a technical committee would soon be formed to study the bill and make the necessary recommendations for the approval of the Cabinet.
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Ransford Tetteh, said the GJA believed that credible freedom of information and broadcasting laws would enhance the ability of the media to promote healthy debate and contribute to the achievement of mutual understanding.
He said the two laws would be of immense benefit to improve information flow and promote transparency.
He said Ghana’s experience in the broadcast industry during the last elections convinced many people that there could be no more time to waste in passing those two laws, since any delay 'will be at our own peril'.
The Chairman of the National Media Commission, Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, for his part, said the day should be used to reflect on the past, present and future trends of the journalism profession in Ghana.
He explained that several members of the media fraternity had suffered various degrees of attacks and said that those heroes needed to be commemorated during Press Freedom Day celebrations.
In his contribution, Mr Kofi Kapito, an official of the Consumer Protection Agency, was of the opinion that the media adopted a lukewarm attitude towards complaints by consumers, because they depended on companies and multinationals for advertisements.