Accra, Oct. 26, GNA – Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah,
the Ministerial Nominee for Information, Friday, said the Ghana News Agency
(GNA) must be resourced to become a modern media organisation, with digital
platforms to deliver quality information directly to the public.
This is to ensure that the information, which
it delivers to the media houses, but are not utilised by them, could reach the
public for decision making and nation building.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah was responding to questions
from the Appointments Committee of Parliament, on his plans to revamp the
state-owned wire service to carry out its mandate, which includes processing
and disseminating information that promote national development, foster
national unity and projects the African personality.
The nominee, who is the Member of Parliament
(MP) for Ofoase Ayirebi, in the Eastern Region, is among four ministers and two
deputy ministers appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to serve in
new capacities after he reshuffled of his government.
The Minority Leader of Parliament, Mr Haruna
Iddrisu, had asked for his Ministry’s specific plans to help the Agency, which
is a parastatal, to get the requisite resources to thrive.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the Ministry was
exploring the possibility of accessing both state funds and private capital for
the recapitalisation of the Agency.
He explained that the reliance on the GNA by
both local and international media houses had reduced as the organisations
themselves were continually sending people to the field to gather information.
However, the GNA, he said, was well positioned
to help in explaining government policies to the public and eliciting their
feedback for informed decision making to promote good governance and national
Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, the Minority
Chief Whip; and Mr Daniel Nii Titus-Glover, the MP for Tema East, both
expressed concern about the resource deprivation of the GNA over the years, and
urged the nominee to work towards reversing the trend.
Alhaji Muntaka, who is also the MP for
Asawase, asked him to work with the Director of Communications at the
Presidency, to prioritise the inclusion of the GNA correspondent and other
journalists from the State-owned media houses in the President’s Foreign trips
to enable them to deliver on their public service mandate.
He said the practice at the Presidency over
the years of rather sending journalists from the private media was an
unnecessary drain on the public purse.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said he had taken the advice
in good faith; although it was common practice for presidents around the world
to include private media practitioners on their foreign trips.
Answering questions on the addressing the
complaints about media excesses and tyranny, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the
majority of media houses were delivering to standard.
However, there were a few who were performing
below par, saying the Ministry was, therefore, working towards a Media Capacity
Enhancement Programme to help improve content and professionalism.
It is, thus, having engagements with the
School of Communication Studies, the Ghana Journalists Association, the
National Media Commission, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and
other stakeholders for that cause.
The focus would be on strengthening capacities
in Production, Analytics, Editorial and Specialisation.
He explained that the Ministry investigated
the challenges in implement ting the Media Development Fund that was introduced
by the previous administration and realised that the Capacity Enhancement
Programme would be a better alternative.
On addressing issues of defamation and fake
news, the nominee said the existing laws must be enforced as a deterrent.
However, he said Kenya had legislated against the
spreading of fake news with a Cyber Security Threat Law, which dealt with
He would, therefore, recommend that Ghana
considered a similar one.
The nominee also answered questions on
resourcing the Information Service Department and harmonising government
information, saying legislations, capacity building programmes and
technological support were being considered.
The other nominees are Mrs Cynthia Morrison,
Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Paulina
Tangaba Abayage, Minister-designate for the Upper East Region, Mr Evans Opoku
Bobie, Minister-designate for Brong Ahafo Region, Mr Martin Oti Gyarko, Deputy
Minister-designate for Brong Ahafo Region; and Mr Samuel Nuertey Ayertey,
Deputy Minister-designate for the Eastern Region.