The Ministry of Information together with its development partners and private sector players have commenced efforts at providing support for the media in the country.
According to the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, just like other estates of the realm that genuinely deserve investments to improve their quality of output, so too does the media require relevant, timely, sustained investment to improve the quality of its output.
He made the remarks in his address at the Development Partner’s Conference on Media Support Programmes on Monday August 30, 2021.
He said: “Ghana has built for itself a robust culture of independent, free and fierce media practice since before independence. Despite the occasional sporadic incidents of media attacks and the complains about media misreportage by various segments of the society, Ghana’s media landscape continues to generally be the toast and envy of many globally. But media practice has significant challenges.
“In Ghana, though we are now nearing the completion of research work to collate empirically the most recent challenges of the media, a cursory analysis already highlights a number of challenges that must be urgently attended to. Wikipedia’s narrative about media in Ghana among other things says despite its relative freedom, the media in Ghana does face some challenges. Journalists in Ghana are often poorly paid, under resourced, and often lack training. As a result, journalists in Ghana find themselves susceptible to many undesirable practices affecting the quality and altruistic nature of the work they are believed to be doing,” he added.
To address some of these challenges, the Ministry has established the Media Capacity and Enhancement Programme (MCEP) and the Coordinated Mechanism for the Safety of Journalists (CMSJ). While the MCEP is designed to create a framework within which academia and practitioners develop and execute training programs for practicing producers, journalists, and editors to enhance their capacity to deliver on their mandate, the CMSJ under the National Media Commission (NMC) is designed to continuously promote and ensure the maintenance of free robust environment for journalism
This is in addition to the logistical and monetary supports government has made available to the media as a support mechanism to help them in their day-to-day administration.
The conference was organized by the Ministry of Information and was attended by the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications, Cynthia Morrison, Chairman of the NMC, Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Roland Affail Monney, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Sulemana Braimah, Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo and Representatives from the UNDP, UNESCO, USAID, PRINPAG, GIBA and private sector players.
The Media Capacity Enhancement Programme was established to address the capacity challenges of the media to position it to play its role effectively as the fourth estate in our governance system. The programme is in line with one of the key strategic objectives of the Ministry to improve the media’s participation national development. When fully rolled out, the programme will see to the periodic training of journalists across the country in order to enhance their journalistic skills.
Through the CMSJ, the Ministry has collaborated with the NMC to inaugurate the Office of the Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists in May 2021. Key to the operation of this office is the development of a framework for use by all stakeholders and an online application system to create a safe and conducive environment for the practice of journalism; prevent violence against journalists; protect journalists in danger; and prosecute perpetrators.
This the NMC Chair, Mr. Ayeboafo underscored the relevance of coordination as sector players to provide the necessary platforms and personnel training in order for the media to thrive. He said the country’s media needs support in order to become relevant actors in our society.
On his part as President of GJA, Mr. Monney also called on journalists to take advantage of the available capacity enhancement programmes to improve on their skill set so as to become relevant in the media space.