STATEMENT BY THE GHANA CENTER FOR DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT (CDD-GHANA) ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the Center joins like-minded groups and organizations in Ghana and in other parts of the world to re-affirm our unwavering commitment to the expansion and consolidation of press freedom and the free flow of information in this age of communication technology.
In this vein, we urge Ghanaian journalists and media houses to fully embrace the opportunities that new technologies have brought to their work. Additionally, we entreat media employers and owners to demonstrate more appreciation for the work of their staff by improving their conditions of work.
In this election year, we especially encourage the media to be guided by a high sense of professionalism, patriotism and ethics to protect their platforms from abuse. We call on media stakeholders such as the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, the Ghana Journalists Association, the National Media Commission, the National Communication Authority and media watchers like the Media Foundation for West Africa and the Coalition for the Transparency of the Airwaves to work together to protect the airwaves from being used as a tool for incitement to violence since it has the potential to mar peaceful and credible elections in Ghana.
As nations around the world observe this day, we wish to remind the Ghanaian government of its obligation to protect media rights and freedoms as enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We therefore deplore recent efforts to impede the progress we have made by attempting to re-criminalize libel through the misapplication of Section 208 of Ghana’s Criminal Code (Act 29). We also call on the government to renew its commitment to media freedom by speeding up the process for passing the long-awaited Right to Information Bill as well the Broadcasting Law, both of which are appropriate tools for promoting media accountability in a democracy.
Public Affairs Officer, CDD-GHANA Accra, 3 May 2012