Koko Oppong Nkrumah
THE FINAL framework on Safe and Responsible Journalism in Ghana is expected to be ready by November 2019.
It is to be published by the National Coordinating Committee on Safe and Responsible Journalism in Ghana.
The framework is to provide guidance on safe and responsible journalism practice in the country.
It comes after development of a draft framework for safe and responsible journalism to prevent the frequent attacks and threats on journalists as well as to protect Ghana’s democratic credentials.
As a result, there is going to be district and regional dialogue meetings for media stakeholders between August and September this year to solicit inputs across the country into the draft document.
This came to light at a media stakeholders meeting organized by the Information Ministry on Friday, July 19, 2019, on Safe and Responsible Journalism in Ghana.
Accordingly, four areas have been highlighted in the draft framework which include ensuring intensive education for all stakeholders on their roles to ensure a safe and responsible media environment, ensuring proper framework that validates attacks and threats on journalists and introduce interventions to prevent attacks on journalists and prosecute those who unleash violence against journalists as well as institute a one-stop shop platform to provide accurate annual statistics on attacks, safety of journalists and complaints against media practitioners.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who made the announcement at the workshop, said the information from the framework will serve as feedback mechanism for future engagements and interventions in terms of training and building the capacity of journalists in order to tackle the phenomenon once and for all.
A permanent multi-stakeholder committee is to be formed and charged with the responsibility of ensuring safe and conducive environment exists for the practice of responsible journalism in the country.
The stakeholders meeting was organised by the Ministry of Information in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to solicit inputs into the draft framework and subsequently validate it, to ensure safe and responsible journalism in the country.
Stakeholders were drawn from 21 institutions, including the Ghana Journalists Association, National Media Commission, Journalism Training Institutions, School of Communications and the Ghana Bar Association.
Other groups are the Armed Forces, National Peace Council, National House of Chiefs and National Commission for Civic Education, media stakeholders such as the , Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Private Newspapers Association of Ghana, Sports Writers Association of Ghana and civil society organisations with focus on media and human rights.
The Information Minister indicated that the number of journalists being attacked worldwide was worrying therefore it was prudent for the global community to examine the causes and develop workable solutions.
He noted that there were two sides to the issue of attacks on journalists-safe and responsible journalism, saying that, journalists were required to operate in a free environment, while in the same vein, were not supposed to trample on the rights of other members of the public.
Mr Ronald Affail Monney, the President of the Ghana Journalists Association, in an address, described the stakeholders’ engagement as a special day in the annals of journalism practice in the country since it sought to tackle the worrying trends of attacks on journalists and thus, pledged the Association’s unflinching support to a worthy cause.
He said 17 journalists had been attacked within a short period of time in Ghana, noting that such atrocities has the tendency to dim the image of the country’s democracy and blot on journalism practice, considering the fact that, the nation had earned high reputation as the standard measure and reference point for journalism practice in Africa.
He thus, expressed joy that the nation was moving from rhetoric regarding tackling media attacks to actionable interventions that would ensure journalist’s safety and go a long way to sustain the democratic society.
BY Melvin Tarlue