President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has dismissed the perception that there is a growing culture of silence under his government.
He says it cannot be that government officials cannot respond to allegations against them, wondering how a spirited defence of the Free SHS, for instance, can constitute an attack on press freedom when a radio station is running a campaign just against the policy.
President Akufo-Addo expressed these sentiments on Saturday, May 29 when a special congregation was held in his honour at the University of Cape Coast to confer on him a honorary doctorate degree.
He noted that what the current society lacks is the ability to listen to each other.
“A radio station is currently running a campaign against Free SHS,” he observed.
“Would a spirited defence of the Free SHS policy constitute an attack on press freedom? I wonder. It cannot be that everyone has a right of reply except members of the government and officialdom nor can it be the challenge or the opinion expressed by a journalist constitutes an attack on press freedom.
“What I believe may be solely lacking in our society today is the need to listen to each other more. Knowledge has never been a gift granted exclusively to one group.
“We must listen and hear each other more and for me personally I find it ironic that the presidency of a man who has been and continues to be daily the most vilified political figure of his generation can be accused of presiding over a culture of silence.”
The President of Ghana indicated that there are no incidents of “midnight knocks on the door in Ghana or authors of dissenting views nor will there be during my presidency”.
For him, government is doing its best to ensure the peace in the country is sustained for all and sundry.
Some journalists and, indeed, senior citizens have expressed concerns in recent times about the seemingly growing culture of silence under the Akufo-Addo-led government.
One of such, investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni, said he felt safe practising under the erstwhile John Mahama-led government.
“When I did the Ford saga in the 2016 elections, what went on before the story came out was a story on its own. But when the story came out, it shook the nation because it was an election period so that night, the Communications Minister at the time, Dr Edward Omane Boamah called me in the night and said, Manasseh, we know the story you have done and how party people are reacting to it and we know it may not be safe so if you have any reason to feel insecure, let us bring you police protection…so I told him I am okay, I felt safe enough and it was because the environment at the time was safe.”
Sir Sam Jonah, who decorated President Akufo-Addo with the special honour, also recently expressed similar concerns about the return of the culture of silence.
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana