Media Commission visits Mills

President Atta Mills

President John Evans Atta Mills on Tuesday underlined responsible media practice in the nation’s march for progress, with a reminder to media practitioners to be guided by the truth, temperate language and good conscience.

He said despite the usefulness of criticisms, it was important that they were done without insults and falsehood so that they would help to build a better nation rather than tearing it down.

President Mills gave the reminder when members of the National Media Commission (NMC), led by its Chairman, Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere paid a courtesy call on him at the Osu Castle in Accra.

The visit is the first by the reconstituted Commission, which was inaugurated 10 months ago.

The Commission, which has been in existence for 17 years, is a constitutional institution charged to regulate media practice.

President Mills said the media, as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, were partners with Government in development, adding that information was a tool on which development was driven.

President Mills praised Ghana’s rating as the nation with the freest media culture in Africa, and gave the assurance that the Government would do everything to protect that freedom, with the provision of the necessary logistics.

He frowned on irresponsible media conduct such as peddling falsehood, insults and irresponsible journalism and wondered what values those, who practised them were teaching the younger generation.

The President said the values of truth and temperate language should never be compromised and called on media practitioners to criticise without insulting.

In all their work, conscience should be their guiding principle. They must also be careful in the choice of language to sustain what the nation has so far been able to build, President Mills said.

“Your choice of language is very critical to sustaining what we have been able to build,” the President said.

According to President Mills, materials that would not achieve the desired positive effect needed not to be published.

Mr John Tia Akologu, Minister of Information, said the visit did not mean the Government was interfering with the work of the Commission.

The Minister, who was once a member of the Commission, said such interactions and dialogue were necessary in the process of sanitizing the media landscape, adding that the Ministry would continue to dialogue with the Commission.

He also stressed the need for responsible journalism and gave the assurance that Government would not do anything to stifle press freedom.

Mr Blay-Amihere appealed to Government to support the Commission with a new building complex that would respond adequately to the enormous needs of pluralistic media in Ghana.

There are at present about 150 FM stations in Ghana and numerous newspapers.

The Public Broadcasting Bill and Freedom of Information Bill to which the Commission is making input are also at various stages of becoming law.

Mr Blay-Amihere said it should be possible for the Commission to go beyond operating from its Headquarters in Accra to establish strategic branches in the Regions and to build a lasting legacy of extending the frontiers of press freedom in Ghana.

Source: GNA

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