According to the Minister for Information and Media Relations, Hon. Mahama Ayariga, Ghana needs a proactive media in order to be able to achieve a full income nation status.
The Minister added that the mandate of the newly designed Ministry is to build the capacity of the state owned media and to also provide support to the private owned media which are also important platforms for the dissemination of information in the country.
Hon. Mahama Ayariga made these observations during the occasion of the first” Meet The Press ” series organized and hosted by the Information and Media Relations Ministry in Accra to brief cross sections of the media on programs, activities and challenges of the Ministry as well as its Departments and Agencies .
He said since taken over as the political head of the Ministry, he has dialogued and consulted with all media stakeholders in the country in order to chart the way for ensuring freedom of speech and independence of the press.
Among the organizations the Minister dialogued with includes the Ghana Journalists Association [GJA], Institute of Public Relations [IPR], Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association [GIBA], Private Newspapers Association Ghana [PRINPAG] , Ghana News Agency and the Advertisers Association of Ghana.
He indicated that they discussed challenges confronting the media in the country and as a result designed a program which if well implemented will effectively put the media on a sound footing in implementing its activities.
Access to information was agreed upon during these meetings as the main challenge confronting media practitioners in the country and as such a weekly briefing session for editors and senior journalists has been instituted.
These editors and senior journalists can through an established body forward to him through his Ministry any information needed in the discharge of their media duties. He appealed for early presentation or forwarding of request so as to be able to get them the information as early as possible.
He is optimistic the newly instituted briefings will afford these editors, senior journalists and investigators access to any information needed as well as brings to an end the publishing and broadcasting of wrong information in the media.
He further disclosed that the Ministry will continue to host their ” Meet The Press” series but was quick to add that they are rethinking on how to reorganize it into a new format where any State Minister or Official can be called at a short notice to brief the media on a specific topic of national interest.
In collaboration with the IPR, a program has been designed to provide training to all Public Relation Officers [PROs] of all the Ministries, Departments and their Agencies. These trainings are aimed at sharpening their skills and providing them with the necessary technical knowledge of their Ministries to effectively deliver.
His Ministry wills upon the resumption of Parliament put before the House both the Right to Information and the Broadcasters Bills.” I will aggressively push and ensure that both Bills are passed by Parliament”.
The Minister Presented 596 Laptops to some media stakeholders in the country. The organizations that received the laptops are the GJA-, GIBA-, PRINPAG, the Information Services Department [ISD] and the Ghana News Agency [GNA].
Mr. Alfred Money, the newly elected President of the Ghana Journalists Association [GJA] on behalf of the recipients’ thanked Government for the gesture and expressed the optimism that the Minister will be immune from President’s reshuffle in order to fulfill his promises and projects started.