Minister of Information John Akologu Tia says even though there may be excesses in the media, it has become “indispensable in the country’s journey towards socio-economic advancement.”
“The various socio-economic programmes carried out on our print and electronic media in the form of documentaries, features and discussions go a long way at educating the masses. The sheer wide coverage nature of television and radio means the media has become such a powerful medium with which to educate, inform and entertain dispersed people within the shortest possible time.”
The minister was speaking at the opening at a regional tool kit pre-validation workshop for the working group on Communication for Education and Development (COMED) in Africa at GIMPA, Accra on Monday.
The three-day event is being organized by the COMED working group in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association and the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education for journalists, academics, communication experts and education specialists from several parts of Africa in attendance.
The COMED programme was established in 1998 to help build national consensus and enhance public support for education policies and programs. It became an ADEA working group in 2002.
The working group is made up of four major constituencies: ministries of education through their communication or information units, media specialized in education reporting, communication researchers and trainer and development organizations involved in the group’s areas of concern.
Mr. Tia said the role of the media is even more prominent because “it has become so accessible to the masses that through the regular media debates, talk shows and public interactions,” the electorate had become part of the governance process and “responsible comments on programmes and policies are given fair consideration by politicians and other government actors.”
He said what the media is doing “gives further impetus to the country’s goal of ensuring that there is a cross-sectoral participation in the business of governance.”
“One cannot exhaust the importance of the media without exploring how the media integrates other communication platforms to advance the cause of both formal and informal education. Today in Ghana, educational instructions targeted at both junior and senior high school students are broadcast on television,” he noted adding “this is indeed possible through the combined effect of the media and other communication platforms which have virtually eroded spatial limitations.”
The minister pledged to work toward strengthening inter-ministerial collaborations to ensure that government business becomes very effective.
Lawalley Cole, Coordinator of WG COMED said he was hopeful that the toolkit will remain an integral instrument in the education sector.
Seatholo Tumedi, Coordinator of the COMED Toolkit in Botswana said the scenarios in the module which the toolkit is seeking to address are prevalent in Southern Africa.
Professor Kate Addo-Adeku, a member of COMED said Ghana has been playing a lead role in actualizing the objectives set out in the toolkits and called for continuous collaboration to ensure it is followed to bring accelerated development.
Professor Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Head of the Institute of Continuing Education said his outfit was prepared to partner the media to facilitate the COMED agenda.
For his part, Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA said the time had come for the media to reassess its contribution towards development and tackle teething problems that are hindering development.
Professor Alfred Opubor, the first man in Africa to get a PHD in Communication said it is absolutely not true that development stories are not interesting.
“I think it is rather poor journalism which is not interesting. Even when it deals with the fables of people in society including politicians, it can get boring if it is not well handled. We know that there is development journalism. Read stories of websites and other media that are doing well on development issues and you as a journalist will be inspired.
“What we need is not a move away from development journalism but a move to get our journalists better trained to write stories on African development in an engaging and professionally competent manner”
Source: William Yaw Owusu
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