Sam George Chastises Govt On World Radio Day

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“The only security of all is in a free press.”

These words spoken over two centuries ago by the 3rd President of the United States of

America, Thomas Jefferson, resound even more poignantly today, the 13th of February

2020 as the world celebrates World Radio Day.

The main purpose of celebrating World Radio Day is to spread awareness among the public and the media to raise the importance of radio. It also encourages decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio, enhance networking and generate a sort of international cooperation among the broadcasters.

The 36th session of UNESCO’s General Conference proclaimed 13 February as World

Radio Day.

The United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day on 14 January 2013. In the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, a resolution was adopted for proclaiming 13 February as World Radio Day. This day has been celebrated worldwide since as a milestone for the freedom of thoughts and expressions on the airwaves.

This year’s theme is “Radio and Diversity”. The theme focuses on diversity and plurilingualism. It is an important medium to celebrate humanity in all its diversity and provides a platform for democratic   discourse.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Information and Media Relations, as well as the

Ministry of Communications and the National Media Commission have not made this day

a national event with great prominence in the Republic.

The Constitution recognizes the role of the media and goes ahead to ensure their freedoms and independence are etched in ink in Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution.

The state of radio and media freedoms generally in Ghana today is a sharp departure from the glory days of media freedoms enjoyed under the 4th Republican dispensation. Radio stations have been arbitrarily shutdown and continue to be shut down.

The most recent, as far as I am aware barely a week ago, the reason being an unexplained threat to national security by the National Communications Authority.

The attempt to hide behind Article 164 of the Constitution without necessarily establishing what credible threat exists is an abuse of the Constitution by the regulator.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Information and Media Relations as well as the

Ministry of Communications and the National Media Commission have not made this day

a national event with great prominence in the Republic.

The Constitution recognizes the role of the media and goes ahead to ensure their freedoms and independence are etched in ink in Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution. The state of radio and media freedoms

Reporters without Borders succinctly captured the sad state of radio and journalism as a

Whole, when the report as follows on Ghana;

“Ghana has lost its status as Africa’s best-ranked country in the World Press Freedom Index.

A group of investigative journalists had to spend part of 2018 in hiding after producing a

documentary about Ghanaian soccer corruption. A ruling party parliamentarian who had

been named in the documentary publicly threatened one of the journalists without ever

being sanctioned. The journalist was shot dead in the street a few months later. Journalists

are rarely arrested but several were attacked with impunity in 2018, in some cases by police

officers. Although Ghana continues to be seen as one of the most democratic countries in Africa and Chapter 12 of its 1992 constitution guarantees media pluralism and

independence, a third of the media are owned by the state or by businessmen linked to the government.” (https://rsf.org/en/ghana)

 

As we mark World Radio Day, may we retrace our steps and accept and celebrate

diversity. For in diversity lies our collective strength. My wish today would be to see the

reversal of the shutdown of radio stations across the country, an expedited investigation

and prosecution of the killers of Ahmed Suale, an end to State intimidation and assault of

journalists and a level playing field for all shades of opinion in the country be they

political, religious or ethnic. The World Press Freedom Index and the abysmal

performance of Ghana over the past three years in the rankings is the clearest indication

that the media space and its handling by government is beset with a growing canker that

needs to be curtailed expeditiously. In the words of a leading Clergyman in the Republic,

there appears to be a sinister force of the prowl. The earlier we all collectively rise against

it, the better it would be for us all.

GOD bless our Homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.

 

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