THE 2018 edition of the World Press Freedom Day celebrations expected to be hosted by Ghana has been launched in Accra.
This year’s celebrations slated from 2-3 May, 2018 under the global theme: “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law,” is poised to bring together over 700 practicing journalists and global leaders including President Akufo-Addo, Director-General of UNESCO, Aydrey Azoulay and president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Philippe Leruth.
It is expected to feature discussions on the interplay between media, political process and the judicial system, as well as issues such as transparency of the political system, independence and media literacy, the judiciary and accountability of state institutions towards the public, among others.
The celebrations which will be crowned at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra on May 3, will feature an awards night on May 2, to present the UNESCO/Guillemo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of press freddom.
Speaking at the launch on Monday at the Ministry of Information in Accra, Head of UNESCO Ghana, Tirso A.S. Dos Santos explained that a wide spectrum of both national and international partners were on board for the event.
“Reporting from the conference will be ensured by the Youth Newsroom, an embedded newsroom consisting of 40 journalism students (20 from Ghana and 20 international) who will provide live coverage of everything that is related to the World Press Freedom Day,” he said.
World Press Freedom Day finds its origins in the Windhoek Declaration adopted in Namibia in 1991, calling for media pluralism and independence.
Annually, UNESCO, the only United Nations (UN) agency mandated for freedom of expression, spearheads the celebration of the World Press Freedom.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the World Press Freedom Day which began in 1993 as UN International Day on freedom of expression and press freedom.
According to Mr. Dos Santos, the event is marked in more than 100 nations annually, and for the first time in its history, the main conference will be held in Accra.
Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid, said the decision to make Ghana the host of this year’s event spoke volumes of West African nation’s credentials in terms of press freedom and democracy.
He said with President Akufo-Addo being a trained human rights lawyer, Ghanaian journalists should rest assured about their safety in the exercise of their freedom of speech.
In attendance were president of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA), Affail Monney; Deputy Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and other stakeholders.
BY Melvin Tarlue
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