The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, has emphasized the strategic role of the media in achieving national development in any society, noting that, “without the media no society can exist, much less develop and subsist”
He stressed that a free press should not be seen as unnecessary usurpation of state power but critical ingredients in human and national development, observing that, “For the existence as well as the organisation of every society, media is very critical and a vital institution that should be allowed to operate without fear or favour.”
“It is in keeping with the general principles alluded to above that the 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana guarantees the independence of the media. Indeed article 162 (1) of the Constitution states unequivocally that ‘freedom and independence of the media are hereby guaranteed’. Clause 5 of the same article states that “all agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the principles, provisions and objectives of this Constitution, and shall uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people of Ghana”. To the extent that these principles, provisions and objectives of the Constitution aim at a well-governed and developed state, the media has a cardinal responsibility in supporting the nurturing of not only procedural democracy, but also the quality of public policies and programmes that would rejuvenate the economy even in period of national crisis such as covid-19 pandemic” he explained.
Addressing media professionals and members of the academia during a media dialogue organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA), under the theme: “Economic Revitalization amid Covid-19 Pandemic: The Media’s Agenda”, Hon Osei-Kyei-Mensah, urged the media to support efforts at revitalizing the economy by providing policy elites with varied perspectives and reliable information from which decisions could be made. The media is also required to enhance the political coordination in the development of sound economic policy.
Considering the devastating effect of covid-19 as manifested in loss of lives, job losses, reduction in trade volumes, overstretched health infrastructure among others, the media in Ghana is expected to join forces with other stakeholders to facilitate trade, transmit ideas and innovation and sustain actions of government through private and public endeavors that are necessary to alleviate the acute economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that it is the realization of the quintessential role of the media that the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs decided to bring together a cross-section of media professionals in Ghana to enable the harvesting of ideas on the media’s agenda in partnering government to promote policies and programmes that would not only rejuvenate the economy but more important transform it for the benefit of Ghanaians. The media dialogue is also part of MoPAs strategic objective of deepening democratic governance in Ghana
“It is worthy of note that in its quest to revitalize the economy, government has instituted revenue mobilsation strategies that would help shore up the economy. In furtherance of this, we wish to appeal to the media to use your platform to educate the public to understand the good intentions of government so that we can increase our revenue levels to help support our national development effort through the provision of critical public goods for the benefit of our people. I reckon that even though policy making is inherently political, the content of our policies and programmes rather than the politics of same must guide media practitioners as a significant proportion of our population rely on the media for their policy information. I dare say that these people deserve to be well informed,” he added.
Story by: Gilbert Borketey Boyefio