The National Coordinating Committee on Safe and Responsible Journalism in Ghana, is expected to publish the final framework that will provide guidance on safe and responsible journalism practice in the country by November.
This follows the development of a draft framework for safe and responsible journalism to prevent the frequent attacks and threats on journalists, and also to protect the country’s democratic credentials.
There will be district and regional dialogue meetings for media stakeholders between August and September, to solicit inputs across the country into the draft document.
Four areas the draft framework highlighted are ensuring intensive education for all stakeholders on their roles, to ensure a safe and responsible media environment, ensuring proper framework that validates attacks and threats on journalists and introduce interventions, to prevent attacks on journalists and prosecute those who unleash violence against journalists. It also includes a one-stop shop platform to provide accurate annual statistics, on attacks, safety of journalists and complaints against media practitioners.
Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Information Minister, said this at a stakeholders’ engagement and validation workshop on the proposed National Coordinating Mechanism on Safe and Responsible Journalism in Ghana.
The information from the framework will serve as feedback mechanism for future engagements and interventions in terms of training and building the capacity of journalists in order to tackle the phenomenon, once and for all.
A permanent multi-stakeholder committee will be established with the responsibility of ensuring that a safe and conducive environment exists for the practice of responsible journalism in the country.
The stakeholders meeting was organised by the Ministry of Information in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to solicit inputs into the draft framework and subsequently validate it, to ensure safe and responsible journalism in the country.
The stakeholders were drawn from 21 institutions, including the Ghana Journalists Association, National Media Commission, journalism training institutions, School of Communications and the Ghana Bar Association.
Other groups were the Armed Forces, National Peace Council, National House of Chiefs and National Commission for Civic Education, media stakeholders such as the , Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Private Newspapers Association of Ghana, Sports Writers Association of Ghana and civil society organisations with focus on media and human rights.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah urged all participants to make contributions to ensure a holistic framework, as everyone had unique abilities and ideas that would make a difference towards its holistic implementation.
He said the number of journalists being attacked worldwide is worrying, therefore it is prudent for the global community to examine the causes and develop workable solutions.
He said that there are two sides to the issue of attacks on journalists. He added that, journalists are required to operate in a free environment, while in the same vein, are not supposed to trample on the rights of other members of the public.
Mr. Ronald Affail Monney, the President of the Ghana Journalists Association, described the stakeholders’ engagement as a special day in the annals of journalism practice in the country, since it sought to tackle the worrying trends of attacks on journalists and pledged the association’s support to a worthy cause.
He said 17 journalists had been attacked within a short period of time in the country, noting that such atrocities has the tendency to dim the image of the country’s democracy and journalism practice.
He expressed joy that the nation is moving from rhetoric regarding tackling media attacks, to actionable interventions that would ensure journalist’s safety and go a long way to sustain the democratic society.