Right to Information comes with responsibilities – Media Experts

Accra, Sept. 30, GNA – Media experts, at a
panel discussion in Accra, have called on the Government to be proactive and finalise
debates and reviews for the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into
law.

The programme was organised by the Department
of Mass Communication and Journalism of the Blue Crest University College. 

Mr Kwasi Pratt Jnr., the Managing Editor of
The Insight Newspaper, said the quality of people’s lives was largely
determined by the quality of information given to them.

He said when members of the public did not
have access to information, it became difficult for them to participate meaningfully
in decision making for their collective development.

He said information should not just be
available to all but the means to acquire it should be equal for everyone to
have a chance to contribute towards nation building.

Mr Pratt said in the quest to push for the
enactment of the RTI Bill, caution must be taken to know where to draw the
line, and that should include which information bordered on national security
or of public interest so as to prevent chaos.

He stressed the need to strike a balance to
ensure satisfaction of all stakeholders.

Mr Kwasi Gyan Apenteng, the Chairman of the
National Media Commission, said the right to information was not for the sole
benefit of media practitioners, but for every taxpayer and citizen.

He said information was essential to national
development and Ghana was not an exception, adding: “We should not view the
right to information as an European thing but a universal phenomenon”.

He said other countries like France had passed
the Bill and that having a system for the easy accessibility of information
prevents the fabrication or spreading of false news.

Mr David Hecht, a former BBC Correspondent,
said the world faced a daunting situation where the media had a difficult task
of getting information to educate and inform the public.

Mr Ernest Owusu Addo, the Deputy Editor of the
New Crusading Guide, said denial of access to information frustrated media
practitioners and that had resulted in undercover investigative journalism to
acquire the needed information.

Professor Nana Essilfie Conduah, Political
Historian and Moderator of the discussions, said government and stakeholders
should consider all angles of the delicate subject and come to an amicable
conclusion as to the way forward.

He said the RTI would, undoubtedly, guarantee
access to vital information to help the citizens make informed decisions.

GNA

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