The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially handed the mantle to Ghana to host the 2018 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).
The Day which is celebrated on May 3 each year, has been set aside to celebrate and showcase the impact of Press Freedom around the world.
Deputy Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, who received the mantle on behalf of Ghana assured that the government and people will host the world to an exciting celebration.
He further stated Ghana is an epitome of press freedom in Africa hence it is not out of place to host next year’s WPFD.
“Ghana is excited to host this celebration because Press Freedom is a value that has contributed immensely to the Ghanaian success story,” Oppong-Nkrumah stated.
According to him, the growth of the media, especially TV and Radio in Ghana is a testament that press freedom has come to stay in the West African country.
“Our upholding of Press freedom upon returning to democratic rule is why today we have over 300 very active radio stations, over 15 TV stations and over 50 regular newspapers on our stands.
“I can testify to how we have utilized free press to improve on our democracy, build strong public institutions, improved education, healthcare, infrastructure and the broader economy. It is one of the reasons for which Ghana has excelled.”
While endorsing UNESCO’s efforts at promoting free, independent and varied media, he commended their contribution towards the operationalization of the UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Fight against Impunity.
The Deputy Minister in his remarks threw an open invitation to the world on behalf of President Akufo-Addo to come and witness the Ghana story. He also condemned impunity against journalists, and called on governments to protect media practitioners in order to play their watchdog role effectively.
“The torture, imprisonment and sometimes murder of journalists are backward acts; and must cease. So much more can be achieved in governance, in an economy and in quality of life when the people and the media are free. And using the Ghana story as an example, we look forward to showcasing this when you join us for this celebration,” Oppong -Nkrumah stressed.
Hotmangaradja Pandjaitan, Permanent Delegate of Indonesia to France, while handing over the Garuda bird to Mr. Oppong -Nkrumah, assured Ghana of his country’s readiness to support Ghana with their experience and guidance towards the organization of next year’s event. He stated “we stand ready to share our experience with Ghana in order to prepare this momentous event”, he added.
The celebration in Accra will feature an awards night, panel discussions, working sessions and a youth newsroom. The local organizing committee will also stage side social events to showcase Ghana’s tourism, sports and investment attributes.