President Nana Akufo-Addo has charged the media to meet the threat of fake news head-on.
In his address at the World Press Freedom Day Awards Dinner on Wednesday evening, the President warned that the integrity of the media was at stake.
Like has been noted globally, he said the phenomenon of fake news, if not checked, has the potential to undermine democracies.
“This is a major threat to the integrity of the news world as we have known it. It is not something to be left only to regulators to deal with. It is something that the whole world of media practitioners must resolutely confront and assist the society to identify and eliminate.”
“If not, it has the tendency to undermine the very profession they practice. It may in the long term, lead to a significant weakening of the entire industry,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said.
He also urged Ghanaians to continue to defend the right to free expression in the name of an open society and accountable governance.
So far, he affirmed that Ghanaians “have manifested in the 4th Republic, their deep attachment to the principles of democratic accountability, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the rule of law.”
President Akufo-Addo also noted the irony of him being a victim of the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, despite being one of the principal actors who championed its repeal in 2001.
Nonetheless, he stressed that its repeal was necessary and in the public interest of Ghana’s democracy.
“That is why, as Attorney General, under the government of the great Ghanaian statesman, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, the 2nd President of the 4th Republic, I led the process in Parliament for the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. The repeal, when it occurred, on 27th July, 2001, was a very happy day for me, representing one of the high points of my public career… The repeal has had a very positive impact on the development of the Ghanaian media, freeing it from unnecessary self-censorship, and promoting a robust and critical media culture.”
“I will say again that I much prefer the noisy, boisterous, sometimes scurrilous media of today, to the monotonous, praise-singing, sycophantic one of yesteryear.
The Ghanaian media has in fact enriched the nation’s governance by its curiosity, investigative skills, and persistence,” he concluded.