The realities and myths of press freedom in Ghana | Peter Dadzie

According to the 1992 constitution, the media is the fourth estate of the realm and they have been given freedom as enshrined in the constitution as press freedom to fully operate without censorship and oppression but in the ambit of the of the law. In addition to press freedom, the infamous right to information bill which took close to two decades to be passed gives additional empowerment to the media to freely access information from public institutions and public officials. In spite of these beautiful laws sitting in our books, can we authoritatively say that media practitioners are really free from oppression and censorship is a thing of the past? A big NO. The media space is inundated with a myriad of abuses and molestations of media practitioners.

To mention a few, the late Ahmed Suale met his untimely death after the Number 12 expose which he was instrumental in its production. The Modern Ghana journalists who were whisked away by national security operatives on account of hacking was rumored to have been physically abused smacks of media oppression Censorship and oppression of media practitioners do not allow them to operate freely and serve the interest of the public to foster sustainable development. It is evident that the oppression and censorship of the media is not due lack of proper laws but inadequate enforcement. Proper laws are existing in the books but security operatives are lackadaisical about their implementation especially when journalists oppressed by politicians.

For sustainable development to be achieved, the media must be allowed to operate freely without censorship and operation. Security forces should endeavor to enforce the laws and unscrupulous persons who perpetuate oppression and censorship against media. Let’s seek ye first free media without oppression and the goodies of development shall be added unto us.

The Love of Liberty is the Fruit of all Developments

Liberty, the ability for everyone to do what he or she likes without abusing anybody’s rights, has a strong positive relationship with wealth creation and development. Across the globe, countries that are enjoying sustainable economic growth and development are countries whose citizens have the liberty to pursue their personal wishes and desires.

A free society which allows its citizens to pursue their personal desires engender innovations and inventions, bring about new ideas, enhance competition and eventually foster sustained economic growth. In most African countries, people often link liberty to only LGBTI rights because of the cultural system of most African countries, people often jump to their feet in fear at the mention of LGBTI.

According to the African Center for International Law and Accountability’s research on LGBTI perception in Ghana, over 80 percent of Ghanaians do not subscribe to LGBTI rights. But liberty transcends LGBTI to freedom, property rights, the right to explore and innovate, the right to talk freely without oppression, etc. According to Mr. Peter Bismark Kwofie, the CEO of the Institute of Liberty and Policy Innovation’s lecture on libertarianism during the African Journalists for Economic Opportunity Training (AJEOT 2019), “where there is liberty, there is economic freedom and where there is economic freedom, there is competition. Where there is competition, wealth is created”.

Therefore, it is important that we embrace liberty especially in Africa, allow people to operate freely and go about with the pursuit of their desires without restrictions.

 

    Peter Dadzie

Source: Ilapi