The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Monday said the media have the duty to protect and preserve the unity and stability of the country.
“In the face of all the turmoil in the world, you are proud because you can point to your country with pride in its stability and increasing success,” he said.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, addressing the opening ceremony of the Media Capacity Enhancement Programme at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, said:
“In Ghana, the media can be said to be a major success story in the country’s journey to democratic governance.”
The Ghanaian media had evolved over the years with more flexibility compared to the days when both the print and electronic media were owned and controlled by the state.
“The contrast today is mind-boggling.
The media terrain today reflects a diversity of political opinion and journalists feel free to operate without the constraints of the now deceased criminal libel law,” the Asantehene said.
The four-day programme is being organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Information, on the theme: “Equipping the Media to play an Effective Role in Our Nation Building”.
Its principal objective is to enhance the existing knowledge base, skills set and qualitative output of media personnel.
It is also expected to help the media to develop a deep understanding of socio-economic and development issues and the forces that shape, influence and constrain nation building.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the greatest asset of the journalism profession was credibility, adding: “Credibility comes from the accuracy of information and fairness with which it is presented.”
He reminded journalists to disabuse their minds of the misconception that their freedom was without bounds.
“The removal of the criminal libel law only removed the criminal element, which could send journalists to jail,” he said.
“But, the right of the citizen to have recourse to the law for the protection of their reputation against defamation by the media remains absolutely intact.”
The laws of libel and defamation were alive and there were still laws against incitements, offenses likely to cause a breach of the peace and many others designed to protect the peace and security of the state, the Asantehene said.
Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, said the training would consider the laws, regulations and ethics governing journalism practice, pledging government’s commitment to assisting the media to perform their roles effectively.
On the Media Capacity Enhancement Programme, he advised the participants to take the lessons seriously as they sought to improve their output.
Journalists, he said, ought to keep learning to build their knowledge base and sharpen their skills for efficient work.
It is expected that the programme would help the participants, selected from the various media organisations nationwide, to appreciate the role of investigative journalism within the framework of institutionalising efficiency, accountability and transparency in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to aid national growth.