Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, observed that the weak economic disposition of the media landscape in the country is the biggest impediment to press freedom.
He said that though festering, the negative economies of the country’s media industry had been snuffed out while industry players wasted away silently in national sacrifice, so the situation should be exposed and addressed.
The minister made the call when he delivered the opening speech on Monday for a three-day training course for judges on press freedom and the safety of journalists.
Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah noted that the economic dilemma was taking root as the country appeared to be unfocused on ensuring the safety and security of the media.
“Contrary to initial reports that Ghana had lost 100 points exclusively due to an increase in security breaches of journalists, a recent stakeholder meeting of industry players described above observed that while it is important to urgently address the issue of the safety of journalists, According to the new methodology adopted by RSF, our biggest problem in terms of press freedom in Ghana today is the poor economic situation of journalists and the media .
“According to the five (5) parameters assessed under the new methodology, Ghana scored significantly high in the following areas: legal framework (81.42%) and socio-cultural context (79.64%). Ghana also recorded above average and moderately high scores for political context (66.61%) and safety of journalists (62.25%).
“As I mentioned earlier, we are committed to working with stakeholders to improve our scores in these two areas.
“But the parameter in which Ghana obtained its lowest was the economic context (47.22%). This refers to the economic conditions of journalists on the one hand and the financial viability of media houses. Ghana’s scores under these parameters peaked with an average score of 67.43% and the 60th position on the new world rankings,” he said.
The Minister took the opportunity to call on media professionals to consider deliberate efforts for the economic transformation of space, as this has greatly affected the social reputation of the nation.
“What this suggests to us is that as stakeholders, while dealing with security issues, we need to do more to improve the economic conditions of our media professionals and to improve the financial viability of media houses. .
“I know that my colleagues in the media don’t like to talk about our internal difficulties in our organizations. But I assure you that if we play ostrich with this, which the RSF says is our biggest problem, not leaving us free enough to fulfill our mandate, our scores on these indices and the rankings that follow on this new methodology will not see a significant change,” he said
Media owners were also instructed to consider increasing their revenue to better support practitioners’ sacrifices.
“Media owners may need to consider program syndications to increase market share and therefore revenue control while ensuring that those revenues reach the journalist who does the hard work on the ground in the end. day,” he said.
The training is a UNESCO initiative for the maintenance of press freedom and is supported by the Japanese government.
A total of 25 judges benefit from the session at Ho, and which has seasoned resource people to facilitate multiple areas.
Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, National Representative of UNESCO, said that the training, which is in collaboration with the Judicial Training Institute, would contribute to achieving the objectives of the United Nations towards the media environment.
“By strengthening the knowledge and capacities of the judicial system, it will contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity adopted by the United Nations Chief Executives Board in 2020,” he said.
Over 18,000 justice and civil society workers have been trained across the world through the initiative since its inception in 2013.
A memorandum of understanding was solidified between UNESCO and regional courts, including the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the ECOWAS Court of Justice on the subject, and which judges would be familiarized with during the training.
UNESCO has also developed necessary resources such as a global toolkit on international legal standards relating to press freedom for judicial actors, a guideline for prosecutors on cases of crimes against journalists and an open online course in collaboration with Oxford on international standards for freedom of expression.