The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, has bemoaned what he described as “overconcentration of political activists” on programmes in the electronic media in the country.
According to him, irrespective of the programmes that are being ran by the media houses, particularly the radio and television stations, political activists were invited at the expense of experts to often speak on issues of national interest.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh who was speaking at a ceremony in Accra to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, said when programme hosts were discussing issues of national interest, they ought to invite people who are knowledgeable on such topics than just inviting political activists who turned every discussion into politics.
He explained that when people, not politicians were invited on programmes for discussions, it would help consumers of such programmes to make informed decisions as the panelists would be objective in their submissions.
According to the NMC Chair, most of the political activists who appear on programmes were only there to show political loyalty and “sometimes uniformed loyalty”, hence not contributing anything meaningful to the discussions.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh was of the view that the role of a journalist was so critical that the journalist must at all times be guided by the principle of promoting public interests than any other thing.
He said when journalists do not exercise press freedom bearing in mind the public interest they served, they would lose the trust of the public.
He noted that when journalists become partisan and shunned their responsibility of holding duty bearers accountable, they would become stooges in the eyes of the public.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh also urged journalists and media practitioners to prioritise their safety at all times, saying journalists ought not to become the story but must live to tell the story.
Press Freedom Day
This year’s World Press Freedom Day was marked on the theme: “Media for democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation.”
World Press Freedom Day is a major opportunity to advance the agenda of deepening democracy and sustainable development in digital times.
The General-Secretary of the United Nations (UN) in a statement said “a free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights.”
He said no democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information, pointing out that press freedom “is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.”