General News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
President Nana Akufo-Addo has formerly spoken publicly about the conduct of reckless journalists in the country, stressing he has been one the greatest victims of irresponsible journalism in a section of the Ghanaian media.
The 73-year-old President indicated he had been the target of many irresponsible media publications in most part of his political career.
Notwithstanding the unwarranted and relentless media attacks on his personality, President Akufo-Addo said he did not regret spearheading the repeal of the criminal libel law.
As first Attorney-General under the John Kufuor administration, Akufo-Addo spearheaded the repeal in 2001, of the criminal libel law under which some journalists were arrested and detained by governments.
The President made these remarks when he addressed journalists at a media encounter at the Flagstaff House yesterday to mark his six months in office.
“The repeal has inspired the Ghanaian media to be one of the freest and most vibrant on the entire continent of African if not the world,” President Akufo-Addo pointed out.
According to him, even though he has been “one of the greatest victims of irresponsible sections of the media, and I refer to those who have created an industry from spewing calumnies, falsehoods and outright fabrications against my person, I do not regret my role in the repeal of the old discredited law.”
“I prefer the noisy, boisterous, sometimes scurrilous media of today, to the monotonous, praise-singing, sycophantic one of yesteryear,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo praised the media for holding his government accountable and publishing its policies.
He said the Ghanaian media has enriched the country’s democratic credentials by their engagements in investigative and critical reporting on government activities and corrupt practices.
Since his inauguration on January 7, the president said he hadn’t had any encounter with the media and thought it proper to meet with them today as part his determination to hold himself accountable to the Ghanaian people.
Without mentioning names, the president said, “I cannot complain about the lack of exposure of my thoughts, statements, or policies since I became president.”
His predecessor, President John Mahama complained bitterly about the media not highlighting his government’s achievements.
Then President Mahama believed that large sections of the media repeatedly harped on corruption to the detriment of his infrastructure projects and policy achievements.
However, President Nana Akufo-Addo indicated he had no complaints so far.
He appreciated the work of the Ghanaian media in general and quoted for support a former President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson’s popular edict on media vs government relations, saying “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
He also commended the presidential press corps for their work so far, saying they have worked hard in informing the Ghanaian public about government business and policies since his government took office, saying “they should know that their work is appreciated.”