Dozens of media organisations across the country have joined the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), to demand information on the whereabouts of the Gh¢1million that was allocated in the 2012 budget as Media Development Fund (MDF).
The media organisations, majority of whom are based in districts where advertising and other sources of media revenue are literally absent, are calling on the government to honour its transparency and accountability obligations by letting Ghanaians, and the media community in particular, know the status of the fund.
On September 9, 2011, then Vice President (and now President) John Mahama announced government’s plans to set up a Media Development Fund (MDF). The President made the announcement while addressing the 16th Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards as the guest of honour.
Following the announcement, the then Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, in his presentation of the 2012 budget to parliament, announced that Gh¢1million has been allocated to the Fund.
Subsequently, in March 2012, Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa, then a Deputy Minister of Information, announced that the Gh¢1million MDF was ready and would be operational in the second quarter of 2012. In his State of the Nation on February 21, 2013, President Mahama told the nation that: “The newly established Media Development Fund aimed at improving capacity within the media will be operationalised this year.” It was evident from the president’s statement that the MDF was not operationalised in 2012.
Nine months after President Mahama’s promise and with just a month to the end of 2013, there is no evidence of the operationalisation of the Fund. Following a media release by the MFWA on October 24, raising questions about the whereabouts of the Gh¢1million MDF, it emerged that all the key media stakeholders in the country including the national Media Commission, Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association are all unaware of what has happened to the Fund.
While there are pieces of information suggesting disagreements among stakeholders on how the fund should be managed, there has been silence on the fate of the Fund and whether or not there have been any disbursements.
Below are media organisations that have joined the crusade to demand information and accountability on the fund are listed below. The MFWA is calling on other media organisations to indicate their support for this campaign by indicating their endorsement through an email to email@example.com