Information Minister, Mustatpha Hamid, has lauded Ghanaian media for its great work done which landed the country in the 26th rank in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index.
Speaking at the media launch of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day, Dr. Hamid urged Ghanaians to be proud about the opportunity given to Ghana to host this year’s edition as it was a “boost in our credentials as a country that holds its press freedom in high esteem.
He explained that “despite our shortcomings as a country, the country had chalked a great feat with regards to democracy and press freedom” noting that the country “currently has over 350 radio stations, 45 newspapers and 16 television stations across the country: a trait very rare in our part of the continent.”
Mr. Hamid explained that the country had come a long way with democracy and press freedom through the hard work of the media fraternity in the country, and the country as a whole.
He expressed his excitement at the decision by UNESCO to grant Ghana the hosting rights for this year’s event.
“We are very excited that UNESCO offered us a small country with a population of less than 30 million to host the WPFD, despite the fact that there were bigger nations who also wanted the right.”
Dr. Hamid assured journalists of government’s commitment to ensuring that members of the fraternity practiced in an environment free of any threats in their line of work. He also assured the fraternity of government’s commitment to passing the Right to Information bill before the year ends.
“Fortunately for us, we have a president who is known as a human rights lawyer, we can be rest assured that no journalist will face threats of arrest, tension or intimidation for expressing their views.”
He encouraged journalists to support and take part in the celebration to champion the cause for Press Freedom around the world.
Country Representative of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and co-chairman of the Steering Committee for WPFD 2018, Teso Del Santos, noted that his outfit is excited to partner the ministry to deliver on the global celebration in Ghana.
He further stated that UNESCO seeks to train journalism students in the art of news coverage. He was hopeful that the celebration will give the students the best opportunity to try their hands on reporting international events like this one.
World Press Freedom Day was adopted from the Windhoek Declaration in 1983 to promote independent and pluralistic press around the world.
This year’s celebration slated for May 3 and 4, is themed “Keeping Power in Check; Media, Justice and the Rule of Law”.
The celebration will feature academic conferences which will discuss Right to Information, Role of Judiciary in Protecting Journalist, Covering Elections and Electoral Campaigns, Policy Labs and the UNESCO Guillermo Cann World Press Freedom Awards Ceremony to honour journalists who have exhibited dedication to the cause Press Freedom around the world.