Media conglomerate, the Media General Group, will on Tuesday hold a special thought leadership forum in Accra to tease out the causes of the recent wanton abuse and threats of journalists in Ghana.
Though Ghana has been touted for its fairly liberal and democratic credentials, recent arbitrary arrests, unlawful detentions, assault and threat of harm among other common forms of abuse inflicted on journalists has given cause for people to question the country’s record.
The unresolved assassination of journalist Ahmed Suale, the beating up of journalists from the Graphic Communication Group, Multimedia Group and Atinka Group by police officers, the closure of media houses, the self-exile of Manasseh Azure and others are believed to have created a climate of fear, heavy-handedness and a growing intolerance of the press.
Some critics say the wanton abuse of journalists, often by officers of the nation’s security apparatus, is fast gaining notoriety in the country and tainted Ghana’s respectable position in the international community.
It is against this backdrop that the Media General in partnership with Star Ghana is holding the forum on the theme: “The State of Media Freedom in Ghana: A Critical Look at Contemporary Journalism, the Public Interest & Security of the State”.
It will be addressed by seasoned journalists Elizabeth Ohene who is a former minister of state; chairman of the NMC, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh; President of the GJA Affail Monney; Director-General of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police, ACP David Senanu Eklu and President of Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Andrew Danso-Aninkora.
The panel among other key things, seek to identify the causes for the abuse of journalists in the country and also address:
- Who is a journalist (in light of the fact that advancements in communication technology such as social media, has spawned the phenomenon of citizen journalism)
- Regulation of the activities of citizen journalists
- Professionalism and Independence of newsrooms of media: whether the ownership structure of media institutions which are owned by politicians could undermine the independence of newsrooms. Whether journalist themselves undermine their own independence through “mercantilism”.
- Journalism and the Public Interest: settling the contention between the work of journalist as exposers of information in the public interest, and that of public office holders or security forces who seek to conceal information in the interest of national security.
The event which will take place at the Executive Theatre of TV3 at Kanda in Accra, will be broadcasted live on TV3, ONUA TV, 3FM (92.7), ONUA FM (95.1), AKOMA FM (87.9) in Kumasi and CONNECT FM 97.1 in Takoradi.
The Media General Thought Leadership series is a flagship dialogue platform that seeks to interrogate and harness the thoughts of leading industry experts on various thematic, topical or pressing issues of national concern to help improve policy-making processes by creating a free and healthy market of ideas for the development of society.