Home News UNESCO lauds GNA for priortising rural reporting

UNESCO lauds GNA for priortising rural reporting

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Social Rural Reporting
Social Rural Reporting

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has lauded the Ghana News Agency (GNA) for prioritising rural reporting thus contributing immensely to community and national development.

“Compared with state-owned newspapers, private newspapers provide scanty coverage of rural areas; much of the rural reporting in Ghana is done by GNA, the state-owned news agency,” UNESCO pointed out in a report.

The report provides an assessment of media development in Ghana based on UNESCO’s media development indicators.
The Agency leverages its wide network of correspondents all over the country, including rural communities, thereby, serving as a major source of news to print and broadcast media in Ghana.

This is in line with GNA’s mission “to act as a catalyst to the politico-socio-economic development of Ghana and in the creation of a knowledge-based Ghanaian society through the gathering, processing and disseminating of high-quality news and information of interest and relevance.”

Presenting highlights of the report, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, the Lead Consultant for the report, noted that there was little evidence of the state actively promoting the development of community media.

“Generally, many community media practitioners feel that despite the important role they play in providing information and education in rural communities they are often overlooked,” she said.

She said the promotion and development of community media had largely been through the efforts of the Community Radio Network (GCRN), an association of community radio stations and initiatives, while commending GNA for its rural reporting.

Established in 1957 by Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, GNA is the only Ghanaian news agency in the country, and has offices across all administrative regions.

The Agency produces home news bulletins (a daily package of news stories from its head office, regional offices, and stringers), foreign news bulletins, news of foreign interest generated in Ghana, and a daily summary of its major news.

On the general assessment of media development, it was observed that Ghana had made tremendous progress on freedom of expression, access to information and bridging the gaps within knowledge society since the inception of the Fourth Republic.

This was attributed mainly to provisions in the 1992 Constitution, which guarantees freedom and independence of the media.

Article 162 (3) stipulates that “there shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press and media.”
The report also recognised the role of the media in entrenching Ghana’s democratic credentials, noting that: “The media have contributed to the creation and sustaining of democracy and its potential to serve as a catalyst for human development.”

Issues explored in the report were on five thematic areas, including a system of regulation conducive to freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of the media and Plurality and diversity of media, a level economic playing field and transparency of ownership.

The other areas were, media as a platform for democratic discourse, Professional capacity building and supporting institutions that underpin freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity, and Infrastructural capacity is sufficient to support independent and pluralist media.

In a speech at the launch of the report, Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, the UNESCO Representative to Ghana, said he was confident the assessment would foster and enhance a free, independent, and pluralist media in Ghana.

He said this would empower citizens with information and enable them to make informed choices by actively engaging and participating in democratic discourse and process.

Madam Patricia Dovi-Sampson, who spoke for the Minister of Information, called for an all-inclusive strategy for enhanced development of the Ghanaian media landscape by continually pushing for reforms.

“We need to be deliberate about the important issues raised in the report to ensure the overall growth of the media in our various societies. Let’s continue in our little ways to keep pushing for reforms and advancement of this noble profession,” she said.

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