Mr Issah Ali, Executive Director of Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a non-governmental organisation, has appealed to journalists to help expose the negative deals of the tobacco industry.
He said the industry is going about interfering in the activities of inter-governmental organisations and individuals who want to facilitate the implementation of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3.
?Let us assist to bring the nefarious activities of tobacco industry to the fore and the harm they are doing to the health of the people by talking to stakeholders to know their stand about the industry,? he stressed.
Mr Ali made the appeal in a presentation at a day?s journalists training workshop, organised by VALD in Accra ahead of the Sixth Conference of the Parties ?COP6? in Moscow, Russia from October 13 to 18 October.
The training was done in collaboration with Ghana Health Service with support from Corporate Accountability International/NATT.
It was to build the capacity of journalists on issues and recommendations to be adopted at the COP6 to enable them to write and publish stories before, during and after the conference.
It also enhanced their knowledge base on the FCTC; and COP for effective media reportage on tobacco control both in Ghana and the international scenes on this year?s COP6.
Ghana has since ratified the FCTC in 2004 and a member of the 178 countries of the COP.
The COP is enjoined to take administrative, legislative and any other means to curb the incidence and the hazards associated to tobacco smoking.
The FCTC has 11 key implementation elements to ensure tobacco control and to prevent commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.
Mr Ali said awareness of tobacco industry tactics to undermine the FCTC is low outside of the health arena and that it has become a problematic because the implementation required multi-sectoral coordination.
He said it is about time journalists and civil society join hands to inform the public of the tobacco industry?s tactics of using individuals, front groups and affiliated organisations to further their interests.
?The tobacco industry has successfully blocked the inclusion of Article 5.3 in national legislations using sophisticated legal arguments and mobilisation of front groups.?
The Executive Director remarked: ?Do not sit back after your training workshops on tobacco, but keep on writing to expose the wrong deals of the tobacco industry which goes about influencing individuals, political parties and politicians to stand against the implementation of FCTC.