Accra, Aug 30, GNA - Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, Chairman, National Media Commission (NMC) Monday said the safety of journalists must be secured at all times, irrespective of their conduct under the country’s rule of law.
He explained that it was only when journalists were secured that society could ask for accountability from them.
Speaking at a Development Partners conference on Media Support Programmes in Accra, on Monday, Mr Ayeboafoh said just as suspects of crimes were taken through the due course of justice to determine their guilt or otherwise, so must any journalist accused of a crime.
The conference was geared towards getting the buy-in of critical stakeholders into the two programmes initiated by the State for the Ghanaian media.
The “Media Capacity Enhancement Programme”; and the “Coordinated Mechanism for Safety of Journalists”, are aimed at creating a conducive and safe environment for media practitioners and also to enhance their capacity.
Mr Ayeboafoh said no Ghanaian journalist must be seen as an enemy of the people of Ghana, adding that “the journalist can’t be against the people.”
In throwing his support for the two Government-initiated programmes, Mr Ayeboafoh said it was imperative for the State to fund such programmes, given the vast resources at its disposal.
The Media Commission was fully involved since its inception around 2019, he added.
He said both programmes were very important, particularly, that on the safety of journalists.
The safety of a journalist, he said, must not be seen as his or her own responsibility, as doing that would make society compromise on a number of things, he explained.
He stated: “It is only after we have guaranteed the safety and security of the journalist that we can ask them to be accountable and show responsibility.”
The NMC Boss emphasised that resources were required to train journalists, adding that the journalist could not be against the interest of the people of the country, therefore, they needed resources from all well-meaning entities to build their capacities.
“If genuinely you want the Ghanaian media to functionally be performing the obligations that it has to, then we must be willing and ready enough to support it to get to the level we want.”
He, therefore, appealed to media practitioners to ensure that they operated within the laws of the country.
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information said, in 2019, the Ministry collaborated with the media professionals, stakeholder groups and academia to assist in fashioning out support programmes that were most critical to the work of the media, hence the programmes.
Additionally, the framework for curriculum developed by stakeholders for the media capacity enhancement programme was also expected to help deal with the gaps in media practice and enhance the media’s contribution to the national development and growth agenda.
“The importance of these initiatives in our nation building efforts cannot be overemphasized. We have, therefore, invited you all here today as development partners to join efforts with the state, in providing complementary technical and financial support towards this endeavour,” he urged.
“Your partnership will help in ensuring that the limited impact of these programmes and their true potential is widened to reach all the regions of Ghana, especially in places where they are needed the most, the Minister told the stakeholders.”
Both their human capital and financial resources, he said, were essential for the success of the programmes.