UNESCO is leading Ghanaian Journalists on Wednesday, May 2 and Thursday, May 3 to mark the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day, a day that is being marked globally.
In Ghana, the celebration of the day that highlights the importance of press freedom is being supported by the Government.
The day also provides an opportunity for journalists around the world to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom throughout the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence; and above all pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
This year’s global event themed, ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,’ will focus on transparency of the political process, independence and media literacy of the judicial system and the accountability of state institutions towards the public.
UNESCO Country Director, Tirso Dos Santos explains Ghana was chosen to host the event due to its achievements in the media.
Information Minister, Dr Mustapha Hamid, said the choice of Ghana to host the important day “speaks volumes about our own credentials as a country with regards to where we have come from in terms of freedom of the press”.
The Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) and UNESCO will host foreign media at the press centre on Wednesday as part of events scheduled for the celebration.
Vice President, Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, will also deliver a keynote at the International Conference Centre.
Although Ghana can boast of considerable progress in media freedom, there are still some concerns when it comes to brutality and attacks on media personnel, especially by law enforcement agencies.
On March 27, 2018, one of Ghana’s budding and fearless journalists, Latif Idris, was brutally beaten to near death at the headquarters of the Ghana Police Service.
The journalist, who works with the Multimedia Group Limited, was not beaten by thugs. He was beaten by police personnel, the same people he would have had to run to if he had been attacked by hoodlums.
Some Journalists in Ghana have also criticised heavily the failure of recent and the past governments to pass the Right To Information Bill, RTI into Law.
Many believe that the RTI Bill, if passed, will give true meaning to the constitutional provision that guarantees freedom and independence of the media.