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Monday, August 17, 2009

Respect suspects’ rights - Veep

Vice President John Mahama
Vice President John Mahama

Vice President John Dramani Mahama Saturday night underscored the commitment of the Mills administration to uphold the constitution, promote respect for human rights and champion the rule of law.

“In this regard I wish to call on the security agencies in their investigations into any allegations of corruption or abuse of office by public office holders to exercise respect for the rights of the individuals they are investigating and carry out their work within the strict parameters of the constitution and the laws of Ghana.

“In the same vein I wish to call on political parties and other interest groups to exercise restraint and avoid obstructing the security agencies in the performance of their legitimate duties.”

The vice president was speaking as Guest of Honour at the 14th Awards Night of the Ghana Journalists Association in Accra, under the theme, Media – Promoting Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and National Unity. The awards also marked the Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary) of the formation of the GJA.

Thirty-six persons and media organizations were celebrated for achieving media excellence or contributing to the promotion of a vibrant Ghanaian media, with Kofi Akordor of the Daily Graphic winning Journalist of the Year 2008, while Joy 99.7 FM’s Super Morning Show was adjudged the Best Morning Show 2008. See list of Awards and Winners.

Vice President Mahama announced government’s intention to convene a conference to examine the constitution and to identify any parts of it that require review of or amendment, saying that even though the constitution has served the nation well in the significant progress it has made in pursuing democratic governance, “it needs to be a living document.”

He said to be a living document, some aspects of the constitution need at certain periods in its life to be amended.

“This is why government intends to sometime early next year to convene a conference to examine the constitution and identify any parts of it that require review or amendment. This process will be open and transparent and will involve all political stakeholders,” he assured.

Uphold constitution

Myjoyonline Ghana News Photos |
A section of guests at the 14th GJA Awards Night
John Mahama said any amendments necessary, either to entrenched or non-entrenched provisions would be effected strictly in according with the dictates of the constitution.

The Vice President described Ghana’s media landscape as one of the most vibrant on the continent and with about 60 newspapers and 150 FM stations across the country, he said the media in Ghana can be said to have fully blossomed.

"Advancements in ICT are on the brink of revolutionarizing TV broadcasting. Digital satellite broadcast is on our doorsteps and the current entry of Multi TV and other free on air players will in the next few years completely change the face of the television media as we have known it.”

He said while the media cannot achieve perfection, we cannot also stop trying and charged the media to stand up for justice and truth, reminding all that in spite of the achievements there is a lot that needs improving in promoting accuracy, fairness and truth.

“There is corruption in the media just as there is in government and society. While we shine the spotlight of accountability on our president, the police, custom officers, parliamentarians, the judiciary etc, we must subject ourselves to the same measure”.

The vice president commended the leadership of the GJA for their leadership in a tumultuous media landscape and said government planned sending the Freedom of Information Bill to Parliament for its consideration when the august house reconvenes.

Story by Isaac Yeboah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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