Ghana’s Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has described the murder of Ghanaian investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale in January this year as the “worst” attack on press freedom in the country.
Speaking at the just-ended Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, Mr Nkrumah said: “In recent years, Ghana has also experienced its share of the global attacks on free media despite our good track record.
“The worst being the cold-blooded murder of Ahmed [Hussein]-Suale believed to be connected with his work as an associate of the media organisation Tiger Eye PI. Regrettably, our investigative agencies have not made much headway in arresting and punishing perpetrators of such acts.
“It appears we took our media excellence and public tolerance for granted but now we have to face up to the changing realities and do more”, he added.
The two-day conference was also used to discuss ways to ensure responsible media practice and the safety of journalists.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah, who led Ghana’s delegation said Ghana has and continues to build a robust mechanism for free and responsible media practice through constitutional and legal frameworks.
“Ghana has repealed the Criminal Libel Law, enacted a whistleblower law and recently passed the Right to Information law. These developments have introduced a refreshing pluralism onto Ghana’s mass media landscape. It has also opened up access to new and diverse voices that have promoted democracy and participation in governance and development; and above all enhanced press freedom”, Mr Nkrumah told the Conference.
Ghana’s performance on the World Press Freedom Index in the last few years, the minister said, has been commendable despite the recently reported cases of attacks on media freedom.
The minister, who is also the MP for Ofoase Ayirebi, disclosed that Ghana was taking measures to fight abuse and attacks on journalists through the implementation of a Coordinating Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists, which, he said, will help equip various stakeholders, prevent abuse and independently validate future claims of attacks.
He also revealed that Ghana was rolling out a media capacity programme in support of quality journalism but will not shy away from legislating against misinformation and disinformation which constitute challenges that threaten confidence in the media.
The minister challenged the media and journalists to go beyond investigating and exposing nefarious acts but also use their platforms to highlight positive advancements in society.
The maiden Global Conference for Media Freedom was jointly organised by the UK and Canadian governments.