The government will revive the Media Fund and use it to support the training of journalists, the Minister of Information, Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has said.
According to him, the fund would not be used to procure laptops and phones but rather to build the capacity of media practitioners.
“The government of Ghana, under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo-Addo, is determined to support the growth of the Ghanaian media to be able to effectively investigate and communicate on all aspects of social development,” he said at a workshop on investigative journalism on migration in Accra yesterday.
The workshop, organised by Media Response, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a focus on media training and migration, is expected to enhance the capacities of more than 30 frontline journalists to conduct investigative journalism on free movement and migration.
It is also to enhance the ability of the selected journalists from both the print and the electronic media to disseminate information and educate the public on the ECOWAS Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons and Migrants’ Rights.
It was organised with support from the European Union, the ECOWAS, the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), the International Centre for Migration Policy Development and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
It is expected to be replicated in the Western, Ashanti and Northern regions.
Mr Abdul-Hamid said the training was timely, as the country was “bracing itself to deal with the unprecedented challenges of irregular migration and human trafficking currently confronting the whole world”.
He cited the recent reported incidence of trafficking of girls from Ghana to the Gulf States as a typical example of the migration challenges the country faced.
Although Ghana is a signatory to several international protocols and conventions which seek to promote safer migration and guarantee the rights of migrants, it continues to face challenges in dealing with the situation.
The minister urged journalists to do more in-depth stories on migration, especially investigative pieces, in order to inform the public about the dangers of illegal migration and other matters associated with it.
He commended the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Affail Monney, for issuing a press statement cautioning journalists against unprofessional investigative journalism practice in the country.
According to him, Mr Monney committed no crime in issuing the said statement because it was in the right direction.
“In my view, I think Mr Monney has committed no crime in his statement,” he said, adding “it was very correct and purposeful”.
Mr Monney has come under attack for issuing a statement cautioning journalists against media trials, but Mr Abdul-Hamid said it was wrong to assume that the statement was meant to discourage investigative journalism in the country.
The Executive Director of Media Response, Mr Samuel Dodoo, said the media had a crucial role to play in the promotion of safe and secure intra-regional migration.
He said the inability of Ghanaian journalists to adequately cover and accurately report on migration issues had resulted in the gradual erosion of public confidence in their ability to provide true information necessary for promoting migrants’ rights and safer migration practices.
For his part, the Head of the ECOWAS National Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Dominic Afriyie Agyeman, said in order to ensure the realisation of the objectives of the ECOWAS common approach on migration, the organisation “is collaborating with the European Union to support non-state actors to implement various interventions aimed at promoting the free movement and limiting the challenges of migration”.
Source: Seth J. Bokpe & Zadok K. Gyesi