CDD Schools Journalists
The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has organized a day’s encounter in Ho with the press on how to promote issue-based reportage to ensure accountability, which is one of the cardinal roles of the media in enhancing good governance.
The participants, drawn from both Eastern and Volta regions discussed issues such as the abuse of incumbency, strategies for ensuring issue-based engagement with experts and politicians, how to constitute panels, and the major socio-economic dynamics of Ghana.
Leading a discussion on the strategies to enhance issue-based engagement with experts and politicians, Theodore Dzeble, the Public Affairs Officer of CDD, stressed that for the media to effectively play its watchdog role, there was the need for it to be abreast with issues and have in-depth understanding of each subject through thorough investigation. According to him, the media serves a unique platform for citizens to receive credible information and education; a role which would suffer a serious compromise if journalists failed to seek conceptual meaning of issues of national importance and interest.
The Public Affairs Officer said to be able to have command over issues, people in the media need to build up sources from which they could readily access credible information and expert views, especially on subjects that are technical in nature. He however expressed regret at the way some journalists compromise accurate and balanced reportage in their quest to ensure timeliness thereby undermining their role as a critical check on government and other state institutions, adding that such a situation does not only affect the integrity of the people but also gives impetus to people in the realm of affairs to sometimes pass on untrue information to the public. Mr. Dzeble opined that the media had a crucial role in ensuring peace and issue-based campaigning in the December elections adding that although editorial policies and house styles could serve as a challenge, journalists must always ensure balance in their reportage.
Mr. Kwame Agyire-Tetteh, a Lecturer at the Economics Department at the University of Ghana, Legon, giving insight into the country’s economic issues, averred that efforts at promoting foreign investment would fail to produce the sustainable solution to the nation’s economic challenges, unless there was a deliberate national objective to ensure technological transfer from those investors to their local counterparts. This skills transfer, he noted, was one of the surest ways to complement our educational system to produce the skilled labor needed to effectively drive the industrial sector. He said Ghana’s economy was agricultural based, with primary products being the major export commodities and therefore all industrial policies must be linked with efforts to modernize agriculture.
Mr. Agyire-Tetteh pointed out that although there could be positive micro indicators as experienced in the nation’s economy over the past decade, macro-economic stability was crucial in alleviating poverty and ensuring accelerated development. One major challenge, he noted, was that most economic policies were not nationally owned, due to lack of consultation ahead of their implementation. While bemoaning the skepticism with which politicians receive research findings, which could have guided them in the pursuit of their development policies, the lecturer warned that unless government offered support to research and considered it as vital to defining solution to some of the nation’s problems, the implementation of certain vital decisions would be a mirage.
Joseph Asunka, Programmes Officer of CDD, on the abuse of incumbency, complained about the nation’s Constitution vesting too much power in the presidency.
Source: Daily Guide, August 13th 2008, No. 190/08