The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has called for more stringent action against individuals responsible for attacks on journalists.
Expressing concern over the escalating incidents of violence targeting the media, the minister urged judges to expedite severe penalties, emphasising the need for swift and decisive justice, regardless of the culprit’s social status or political affiliations.
“Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of every democratic society; it is a fundamental right that must be protected and upheld. We cannot, however, discuss freedom of expression without press freedom and recognising the important role journalists play in our society,” Nkrumah told the judges.
“It is our duty to create an environment where journalists can carry out their work without fear of violence or intimidation. We must condemn any form of violence against journalists and take concrete steps to provide them with the necessary protection and support,” he said during the opening ceremony of a training workshop for judges on Monday (4 December) in Accra.
The workshop focused on the critical importance of safeguarding freedom of expression and ensuring the safety of journalists.
In line with creating a conducive and safe environment for journalists, Nkrumah said the government through the ministry of information has initiated several programmes aimed at supporting the media sector. Since 2019, these efforts have resulted in the development of key interventions to confront the challenges faced by the media industry.
One significant initiative was the inauguration of the Office of the Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists (CMSJ) under the National Media Commission (NMC). This office operates with a framework designed for use by all stakeholders to create a secure environment for journalism practice, prevent violence against journalists, protect those in danger, and prosecute perpetrators of violence.
Through its Media Capacity Enhancement Programme (MCEP), the ministry is actively providing training for 250 journalists on emerging issues in journalism. This collaborative effort aims to bolster the sector, which has faced increasing challenges in recent times.
Additionally, the full rollout of the Right to Information (RTI) Law includes the training and deployment of RTI officers in nearly 600 government offices nationwide. The establishment of the RTI Commission has played a crucial role in ensuring compliance by public offices with the RTI Act.
Further, the ministry facilitated a comprehensive consultation on a new Broadcasting Bill, designed to enhance state institutions’ ability to regulate the broadcasting sector effectively. These initiatives collectively underscore the government’s commitment to supporting and fortifying the media landscape in the face of evolving challenges.