Former President J.A. Kufuor has explained that even though people are abusing current air of freedom, a time will come when they will adapt themselves to the situation.
Making the point that the country’s democracy has not yet matured from an insulated society, the former President was certain that “we are gradually on the way there.”
Mr. Kufuor said this at a forum in Accra organised by Media Foundation for West Africa on Tuesday to mark nine years of repealing the criminal libel law.
The programme, themed, ‘Government-media relation in a developing democracy’, was to enable the former President to give stewardship to the media under his administration.
Mr Kufuor said he never believed in absolute freedom, urging that some sort of responsibility must go with the media freedom the country was currently enjoying.
He said even though he was against the use of state power to suppress media freedom, people must also take the pain to cross check their facts before making them public.
Mr Kufuor advised the National Media Commission (NMC) to stand firm and deal with media houses that publish lies about people.
“I have no regrets for repealing the criminal libel law,” the former President John Agyekum Kufuor said.
Repealing the law, he said, gave birth to over 100 FM stations and other print media houses, thus making the Ghanaian media one of the most vibrant to reckon with on the continent.
“Ghana has become the beacon of hope for the rest of the world, that is why we need to nurture our teething democracy through good governance and, exemplary leadership,” he added.
The former President denied media reports that his administration was in bed with the media that was why the media was soft on him during his tenure of office.
“We never gave bribes to any media house to be soft on our administration; neither did I have twins out of wedlock, or facilitated the buying of the hotel for my son or used-state resources to renovate my private house. These were some of the propaganda that were peddled when we were in office”.
A representative of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), Amadou Kanoute, called on African states to recognise the indivisibility of press freedom and their responsibility towards governance issues.
He urged African leaders to respect international protocols, likewise upholding the freedom, independence and safety of the press.
The Executive Director of MFWA, Prof Kwame Karikari, in an earlier address said the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law gave birth to the power of the tongue and the pen as it marked the most significant event in the history of the media in the country.
Source: Ghanaian Times