Full Text: Speech delivered by Chief of Staff Frema Osei Opare at the opening of the 3rd African Media Convention in Accra

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Chief of Staff, Frema Osei Opare
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SPEECH BY HON. CHIEF OF STAFF, OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AT THE OPENING OF THE AFRICAN MEDIA CONVENTION AT THE AICC

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

  1. It is a great honour and privilege to be invited to the 3rd African Media Convention here in Accra and to address you on the theme, ‘Enhancing Freedom, Innovation, and Environmental Sustainability in a Dynamic Media Landscape’. I bring you warm greetings from the President of the Republic of Ghana, H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who will join you tomorrow to close the convention and also, warm greetings from the Vice President H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

 

  1. Environmental crisis, driven largely by rising climate change, is severely biting all fifty-four (54) countries on our continent. The crisis has resulted in excessive and long periods of droughts, rising temperatures, rising sea levels inducing tidal waves and floods, and sinking many coastal communities that are below sea levels. According to the Copernicus, the European Commission’s institution in charge of climate change services, climate change has contributed to increasing heat recorded in history, with 2023 being the warmest on record at +1.48 °C since regular tracking began in 1850.

 

 

  1. Indeed, April 2024 was warmer globally than any previous April in the data record, with an average surface air temperature of 15.03°C. The theme for this Convention ‘Enhancing Freedom, Innovation, and Environmental Sustainability in a Dynamic Media Landscape’, could not have come at an opportune time, for the African media to interact and deliberate on the role of journalists, in combating both climate change and environmental crisis in Africa.

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

  1. The press, which is considered as the fourth estate of the realm, constitutes a segment of society that has an indirect but influential role in political systems under democracies. In the area of climate change, journalists play a crucial role in countering false narratives on climate change and environmental crises through proactive, accurate, and objective reporting. Journalistic integrity is therefore key to promoting a healthy information ecosystem.

 

  1. We as Africans, and the media in particular, have a special duty to reflect on the exercise of journalism and freedom of expression amid the global environmental crisis. It is noteworthy, that climate change denials, have become increasingly untenable in the face of escalating environmental catastrophes occasioned by human activities.

 

  1. According to the State of the Climate in Africa 2022 Report, these catastrophes, including floods, and rising temperatures threaten our very existence as Africans, as they continue to pose an ever-growing risk to a healthy environment, food security, biodiversity, natural resources production, and sustainable development. In fact, research have estimated that the impact of climate change on the African continent would be worse than slavery and colonialism, and thus, behoves on the African media to accept its role in combating climate change and its attendant environmental crisis. Everyone deserves to live in a healthy environment. Environmental awareness, is therefore key to ensuring that people understand how their actions affect the environment.

 

  1. Therefore, the media has a responsibility to keep everyone informed about the adverse effects of human activities and ultimately, the protection of our environment. The media can also be used to influence public opinion on environmental issues which could positively impact the larger society.

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

  1. It is important to emphasize that addressing environmental challenges is oftentimes, pivoted on a three-prong approach, namely; An effective legislative regime, An effective law enforcement process and An effective media role in public education. Whereas the State performs two of the aforementioned roles, that is, an effective legislative regime and law enforcement, the role of the media remains imperative to the gains made thus far.

 

  1. The role of the media appears more expansive beyond public education. In recent times, most nations, have had to grapple with the adverse effects of disinformation and misinformation, which may either be spearheaded or oxygenated by some media organizations. I therefore charge you to be ambassadors of timely and accurate dissemination of information in safeguarding socio-economic development across our continent.
  2. Again, as has been observed in the past, the media beyond its public education mandate, could also police important roles of the State, such as the development and enforcement of an effective legislative regime that guarantees environmental sustainability.
  3. In bringing my address to a close, I urge policy makers, international organizations, media practitioners and other representatives of the African States present in Accra for this Convention, to use the occasion to highlight the importance of reliable and accurate information in addressing environmental crises, particularly climate change, and its disproportionate impact on Africa.

 

  1. I also urge that we strengthen collaboration between media organizations, civil society organizations, governments, and international bodies to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression. We must equally use the occasion to deliberate on sustainability of media practice in Africa as well as raise awareness regarding threats faced by journalists and communication workers reporting on the environment. Let me use this occasion to advocate for greater support for the media to enhance their capacity for climate change reporting. Together, let us embark on this journey towards a prosperous future, where environmental sustainability shine brightly, and climate smart reporting becomes a force for social and economic advancement in Africa.

 

LONG LIVE THE AFRICAN MEDIA CONVENTION!!!

LONG LIVE AFRICA’S ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS!!!

LONG LIVE AFRICA!!!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION.