West African media: News needs more professionalism -interim Burkina Faso president Cherif Sy

Professional journalism is key to getting citizens involved in governance across West Africa, but governments like Ghana's need to give them access to information to do this, media experts have urged.

  • Published:
play President of the Transitional Parliament of Burkina Faso Hon. Cherif Sy (rfi.fr)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

Professional journalism is key to getting citizens involved in governance across West Africa, but governments like Ghana's need to give them access to information to do this, media experts have urged.

A panel of media experts spoke at the opening of the West Africa Conference on Media and Participatory Governance on the theme of promoting professional journalism for good governance in West Africa, hosted by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).

Board chair of MFWA, Edetaen Ojo said that while good governance relies on a professional media, press freedom and access to information are key to keeping citizens informed, and that included citizens being allowed the right to access government information through Right to Information (RTI) bills.

RTI laws allow the public to ask for information and documents on government spending, contracts and statistics.

However, only seven countries across West Africa have passed these bills, and only 17 in Africa.

Keynote speaker at the conference, president of the Transitional Parliament of Burkina Faso Hon. Cherif Moumina Sy, a seasoned journalist and advocate of the free press helped pass this bill into law for his country last year.

Passionate and outspoken on the role of the media to create just societies, he urged journalists to increase professionalism to be able to empower citizens to think critically.

He also spoke of a new generation of journalists who do not hold high standards in the profession.

“I am embarrassed to hear their questions and to be in the same profession,” he lamented.

Minister of Communications Edward Omane Boamah was scheduled to open the conference but instead had a speech read out by a director at the Ministry of Communications, Patricia Sampson.

His speech noted the need for citizens to have access to information and to express themselves and participate in government.

“The Government of Ghana fully acknowledges the importance of access to information and remains fully committed to continuously increase citizen and media access to information held by government agencies to promote transparency and accountability in the government," Sampson read, without specifically naming Ghana's Right to Information Bill.

Civil society groups in Ghana have been advocating for passage of RTI legislation for the last 13 years. So far in West Africa, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Guinea, Burkina Faso have all passed RTI laws making it possible for citizens in those countries to legally seek information from public entities.

In Ghana, the bill is currently in a consideration stage, but there have been many amendments made on it by MPs.

It has been in knocking about it Parliament since 1999, though majority leader, Alban Bagbin has assured the public that the bill will be passed before the dissolution of the current Parliament.

Download our mobile app today.

Android - Google Play Store

iPhone - Apple App Store

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos




Top Articles

1 Hajj 2016 Over 30 Ghanaian pilgrims repatriated from Saudi Arabiabullet
2 Hajj 2016 Woman collapses and dies at Hajj villagebullet
3 Gold Fraud Five police officers indicted in gold fraud casebullet
4 Solar Eclipse Ghana to witness partial eclipse of the sun on...bullet
5 In Western Region Western Diamond cement machine cuts worker...bullet
6 GJA Awards Dery "can't think far" about Anas Aremeyaw's awardbullet
7 Tragic Six dead in gas explosion at Tingabullet
8 Amissah-Arthur Veep escapes death as car crashes his...bullet
9 Montie 3 Remission Lawyer files suit to get Montie 3...bullet
10 GJA Awards Find out the award winners at the GJA awardsbullet

Top Videos

1 Obinim saga We had sex only once - Obinim victims confessesbullet
2 Meet Aisha the female mate who aspires to be a driverbullet
3 Watch Obinim's followers attack passengers near Nima police stationbullet
4 Bishop Obinim Saga Teenagers disciplined by Obinim speak outbullet
5 Watch Ghanaian funerals; A time to dance and celebratebullet
6 Obinim Pastor charged with assault; sent to CID Headquartersbullet
7 Watch Obinim's followers dispersed with water cannon at...bullet
8 #PulseElection UNDP ready to assist EC in election 2016bullet
9 Bishop Obinim Followers gather at Police HQ in Accra to...bullet
10 Pulse news on the go 896 prisoners granted amnestybullet

News