The Head of Information at Ghana’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Frederick Ameyaw, has reiterated government's commitment to the safety of journalists.
"Government of Ghana is committed to ensuring that Journalists are able to do their job without fear or any undue influence or interference by working with UNESCO to set up a National Coordination Mechanism," Mr. Ameyaw stated on Wednesday, July 17.
The Information Officer was addressing a meeting organised by the Missions of Lithuania, France and Greece and the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists.
The meeting was organised on the side of the 2019 high-level political forum on Voluntary National Review Report on the implementation of the 2030 agenda by Member States of the United Nations, which began July 9 and ends on July 19, 2019.
At this Forum, Member States were accorded the opportunity to put SDG goal 16 under the spotlight, by sharing their successes, challenges and lessons learned on the issue of addressing the challenges of the Safety of Journalists.
Mr. Ameyaw at the meeting, espoused efforts made by the Government of Ghana to ensure the safety of Journalists. He cited the repeal of the Newspaper Licensing as well as Criminal Libel laws in addition to passage of the Right to Information Bill earlier this year, as evidence of the steps by the state to promote press freedom.
Ghana, he noted, is fully dedicated to achieving SDG Goal 16.10.1, that is, "ensuring public access to information and fundamental freedoms in accordance with national laws and international agreements."
He further stated that, chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana appreciates the media as the fourth estate of the realm thereby ensuring their safety and protection. The plurality of the media is also a clear manifestation of open space for freedom of expression and opinion.
The National Communications Authority has licensed 487 FM broadcasting stations in Ghana with 389 currently in operation as of 2018.
Mr. Ameyaw acknowledged, however, that in spite of this enviable feat, there are still challenges. The 2018 Media Foundation for West Africa report recorded 17 assault cases on Journalists within 15 months.
He indicated that the National Coordination Mechanism which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Information, will by the end of the month engage key stakeholders -including, Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Bar Association and Ghana Police Service- to address some of the issues leading to the attacks on journalists.
The Coordination Mechanism will among others, have a timeline for the establishment of a National Coordination Mechanism and for the Safety of Journalists and discuss and agree on the structure and functions and responsibilities of the Mechanism.