The Minister of Information Designate, Fatimatu Abubakar, has announced that the Broadcasting Bill will soon be laid before Parliament.

Speaking on May 3, 2024, during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in Koforidua, she said, “On legislation, I am happy to announce that the draft broadcasting bill is ready. We have received the advice of the Attorney General, and we are hoping to engage our respective parliamentary select committee in Parliament, which is the committee on communication, to help us facilitate the laying of the bill in the house.”

The purpose of the Broadcasting Bill is to provide comprehensive legislation on broadcasting services, regulated by the National Media Commission (NMC) and the National Communications Authority (NCA), in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

There have been ongoing calls from media and civil society organizations to pass the bill, citing its potential to sanitize the airwaves. The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) recently called on the Executive and Legislature to prioritize the bill’s passage.

The Minister Designate also emphasized government’s efforts to improve the working conditions and safety of journalists.

She stated, “We have provided comprehensive training in collaboration with our partners for over 140 journalists from different media houses nationwide. This training session has equipped journalists with skills, knowledge, and expertise to excel in their profession.”

Additionally she said, the Ministry has been engaging with the police service, other security agencies, and the judiciary to handle matters involving journalists effectively and ensure accountability for those who attack journalists and media houses.

Information Minister Designate Fatimatu Abubakar, said despite the success, government is concerned over increasing attacks on journalists globally.

“Furthemore, as part of efforts to combat impunity and ensure accountability the ministry of information has been actively engaging with the judicial service. We have advocated for severe punishment by the judiciary for those who attack journalists and media Houses”. She said

Ghana has improved its position in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index, climbing from 62nd in 2023 to 50th place.

The Minister of Information designate said government will facilitate effort to ensure that International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFFPIM) office in Ghana is properly set up.

“Government is concerned about our continues low performance when it comes to the Economic indicator which is used by Reporters without Borders. It is in this light that the President and also Our former Minister of Information now Minister for Works and Housing Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah worked so hard to lobby for Ghana to host the Regional Office of the International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFFPIM). Government is taking the neccessary steps to ensure that the office is properly set up and commission. So that issues pertaining to media sustainability when it comes to funding there would be some form of support”. The minister Designate said.

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor, attributed the improvement to the GJA’s “aggressive actions” such as blacklisting political figures whose supporters attacked journalists and media outlets.

He said GJA is committed to using journalism to address environmental issues like illegal mining, sanitation, and climate change.

This aligns with the global theme of World Press Freedom Day 2024, “Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the environmental crisis.”

“The GJA seeks to lead a strong media campaign for the protection of the environment and the good of the country,” said Dwumfuor.

He encouraged other journalists to join the fight against illegal small-scale mining, known as ‘galamsey,’ and focus on it for longer time.

Source: Ansah