"Respect the Spirit of the Constitution" Dr. Gadzekpo urges state actors
A media expert and lecturer at the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Dr. Audrey Gadzekpo has called on politicians, public servants and the media to respect the spirit of the 1992 Constitution that guarantees the freedom and independence of the media.
She also called on law enforcement authorities to stop using sections 207 and 208 of the Criminal Offences Act of 1960, (Act 29) to selectively arrest and prosecute members of the media for supposedly publishing false statements to cause “fear and alarm” among the public.
Dr, Gadzekpo made these observations when she addressed a public forum on the topic: The 1992 Constitution and the Media: Challenges and Opportunities for Reform” at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel. The event was jointly organized by the National Constitutional Reform Coalition (NCRC) and the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) to gather information from media stakeholders on possible areas of constitutional reform.
“State actors – the police, national security, politicians, etc. have over the lifespan of the Constitution gone against its spirit by using unnecessary force, selective justice and laws not meant for the media to intimidate journalists and to keep the media in check,” she observed.
“The media, on their part, have also acted with impunity and disregarded those constitutional provisions enjoining them to act responsibly,” she said. She urged journalists to be guided by the ethics of the profession, and show commitment to democratic ethos.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Prof. Kwame Karikari who chaired the forum, urged the media to find creative ways to better regulate themselves. He said the media is doing many things right but can do much better if it is able to overcome the political partisanship which is creating a lot of problems for the profession.