Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, the Auditor-General, has hailed the media’s role in the fight against corruption in the country.
He said greater transparency and accountability was essential in combating corruption; stating that “this is where the media comes in handy to ensure that we can promote good governance, transparency and accountability in order to control or minimise corruption”.
Speaking at a Town Hall Meeting on Media and Corruption in Ghana, Mr Domelevo said combating corruption also involved the media investigating the issue and reporting on it, such that there could be follow ups and subsequent prosecution.
He said the effectiveness of the media depended on several factors such as; access to information, the freedom of expression and also the class of professionals who had the necessary skills to do their work.
“Public officers are to serve the public and to be accountable to the public. But it is difficult and almost impossible to reach-out to the public effectively without the media, because they cover the public far better than they can do,” he said.
“At the minimum, the media must expose corrupt officials, prompt investigations, if they cannot do those investigations, reinforce the works of the legitimate entities identified for anti-corruption fight and put pressure on government to change laws and legislations that create the necessary platform for corruption.”
He noted that some of the nation’s laws created room for corruption.
Mr Domelevo said: “Corruption is a dangerous game. And everyone who fights corruption should know that corruption will fight you back one day. Therefore, there should be incentives for people who will risk their lives or risk their jobs in fighting corruption.”
Touching on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill, he noted that it had taken too long to see the light of the day; declaring that “we need information for the media to be able to do their work and do it better.”
He urged media professionals to specialise in their field.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), organised the Town Hall Meeting on the theme “Assessing the Performance of the Media in Fighting Corruption in Ghana: Two years into Akufo-Addo Administration”.
Mr Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director, MFWA, said even as the media space improved, the number of media houses increased, and the number of journalists continue to grow, it appeared that the fight against corruption was getting less and less and that there was the need to do something about.
He said the few journalists who were into corruption investigations were sometimes not given the needed support from some media houses.
He said there was corruption within the media; stating that “and so when we are talking about the role of the media in fighting corruption, we need to look at the role of the media in fighting corruption within the media itself”.
“It is a fact that today, the instruments that are used to fight against media houses or journalists who are working hard on issues of corruption; the instruments are the media themselves, sometimes bigtime journalists.
“…There is corruption within the media. The media themselves also constituted an obstacle to the fight against corruption.”
Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director, Ghana Integrity Initiative, appealed to newspaper Publishers in the country who do not report on issues of corruption to sit up.
Mr Manasseh Azure Awuni, Senior Broadcast Journalist, Joy News, gave an overview of some investigative works he had done on awards of contracts at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
He also urged his colleague journalists not to give up in the fight against corruption.