Ghanaians must hold Akufo-Addo to his commitment to ensure press freedom – Prof Gadzekpo

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Dean at the School of Information and Communication Studies of the University of Ghana has said Ghanaians have to hold President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to his promise to ensuring press freedom.

The President in his speech at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on May 29, at a ceremony held to confer an honorary doctorate degree on him, debunked claims of a perceived culture of silence.

“A radio station is currently running a campaign against Free SHS. During the last election, I got the impression that Free SHS was endorsed by all parties and all that was needed to do was keep improving it. Would a spirited defense of Frees SHS constitute an attack on press freedom? I wonder,” he said on Saturday.

On the back of this, Prof Audrey Gadzekpo said she finds it very reassuring that the President in his speech is reassuring Ghanaians of the government’s commitment to press freedom and “we can hold him to that.”

Speaking on Joy News TV, Prof Audrey Gadzekpo indicated that though there is the perception that “there is a price to pay if you are too overtly critical of the government, it is not just media people who pay the price.

According to her, many critics have coiled up in their shells due to the perceived thought that “one would have to pay the price for speaking out.”

This, she said has made people more cautious of their comments in public.

She, however, noted that citizens must be encouraged the voice out instead of remaining silent.

She added that “I think that I sense a certain frustration from the President’s speech that sometimes when politicians push back at criticisms robustly is seen as silencing and he thinks that, that is unfair because if you are criticised, you have the right to defend yourself, you have the right to come back.

“What you don’t have the right to do, and I think in the President’s speech he affirms it, is to attack people, you know to go pick up people in the middle of the night and those things which we associated with the culture of silence.”

The Associate Professor of the Department of Communication Studies further disagreed that the country is living in an era of culture of silence pointing out that the notion of culture of silence is perceived and not real.

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