Madam Fatimatu Abubakar, a Deputy Minister of Information has stated that the foundation of the country’s democracy has been consolidated and solidified by the power of radio broadcasting.
She said radio continued to remain one of the most relevant and powerful communication tools that shaped all spheres of society because of its capability and reliability in reaching the largest number of people across the globe.
Madam Abubakar, speaking at a durbar to climax Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s (GBC) Volta Star Radio’s Silver Jubilee celebration in Ho, in the Volta region said many notable and historic moments of the country were transmitted through radio.
She said the theme: “25 years of Radio Broadcasting, the socio-cultural effect on listeners” implied that the media had practically become part of the lives of the citizens with enormous influence on the society.
The Deputy Information Minister said the importance and impact of radio broadcasting had been huge from the time the State Broadcasting commenced in Ghana in 1935, with the establishment of Radio ZOY and later Gold Coast Broadcasting Service (GCBS).
She underscored the role of radio in enhancing nation-building, entertainment, and education and serving as a powerful communication tool that allowed both the vulnerable and illiterate to participate in public debate.
Madam Abubakar said that for the power of radio, most people, especially the vulnerable would have been cut off from the national discourse, and commended the GBC for its tenacity to continue to reach remote communities to give voice to the voiceless.
The Deputy Information Minister said Ghana’s media landscape continues to generally be the toast and envy of many globally and that the government intended to support it to maintain this feat.
Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution grants every Ghanaian including media houses the right to information regarding public sector affairs and governance in general. It is against this backdrop that the government through parliament, passed the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989) which was assented to by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on 21st May 2019, she said.
The Act, according to her, sought to empower people and the media to be able to access information on central and local governments as well as non-governmental organizations which were publicly funded.
The Ministry of Information, she added, was in the process of setting up right to information offices and front desks in ministries and government departments across the country to facilitate access to information in those institutions.
Madam Abubakar said the government and the President had demonstrated their resolve to deepen the country’s democracy by empowering journalists and the media through the passage of the RTI Act.
She encouraged the media to use the RTI Act as a means of fostering transparency and accountability in public affairs, saying “if properly applied, the Act could be a critical tool in the fight against corruption in public life.”
The Deputy Information Minister said the government was not oblivious of the challenges facing media operations in Ghana and had not relented on its efforts to support the work of the media.
The Ministry of Information, she noted, in 2019, collaborated with the media, stakeholder groups, and academics to assist in fashioning out support programmes that were crucial to the work of the media.
She said the Ministry in August this year, also organised a conference for development partners and stakeholders to rally support and funding for the media in the area of capacity building and the continuous creation of a conducive and safe environment for media practitioners.
If we are truly interested in getting the media to practice p6rofessionally and build on high standards, then the broader society needs to take an interest in how to assist the media with intervention programmes, she stated.