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NPP, NDC Policies omit press freedom

By: Ruth Tang

The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana and the Presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), His Excellency Dr. Muhammadu Bawumia, has announced his proposed policies to tackle if he is elected as the President in the upcoming elections. He made this announcement at the Kofi Ohene Konadu Hall of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), located in Accra.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential candidate John Dramani Mahama and his team, including the party’s Communications Officer Sammy Gyamfi, have highlighted their policies for when they come into office.

Both political parties have presented a range of policies aimed at addressing various issues in sectors such as education, health, economy, agriculture, law, and corruption. However, both parties have failed to include any specific policies that address press freedom and international relations. Despite the vital role that the press plays in holding the government accountable, promoting transparency, and providing a conducive environment for their duties, neither party has dedicated any initiatives to support and develop these areas. Concerns have been raised by research and data from the Data Analysis Insights Point of Adoa TV, emphasizing the importance of a free and vibrant press for the proper functioning of the state.

In recent years, Ghana has observed a significant decline in press freedom. Journalists have been subjected to physical attacks, threats, and arrests while carrying out their duties. According to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), there were 30 instances of press freedom violations in Ghana between 2021 and 2022. Security agents were responsible for 67% of these abuses. Moreover, Ghana’s global ranking in press freedom declined from the 30th to the 60th position in 2022. Notable journalists who have suffered attacks include Kaleb Kuda of Citi TV, Captain Smart of Onua TV, Manasseh Awuni Azure, and the late Ahmed Suale. The lack of policies to address these issues suggests a lack of prioritization for the media by both the NDC and NPP.

It is crucial for Ghana to have a strong international relations strategy that establishes dignified ties, attracts foreign investments, enhances trade agreements, and advances the country’s interests in the global arena. This will contribute to economic growth and development. However, neither of the two political parties has included such a strategy in their policies thus far. Although both parties have outlined policies to address various sectors and issues, the absence of initiatives addressing press freedom and international relations raises questions about their dedication and commitment to these areas.

It is important to include strong policies that address press freedom and international relations to shape the state’s progress, protect journalists, and ensure transparency and accountability in their work. As the parties have not yet launched their manifestos, there is still an opportunity to review them and ensure they are implemented constructively.

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