The Minister of Information, Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has advised government officials to be mindful of their utterances and the type of information they put out, considering the fact that the media will scrutinise them without fear or favour.
“We are living in an era when the media have grown confident and become more attentive to the kind of information put out by government officials. Whatever you say will not be taken at the face value,” he said.
Speaking at a media and information literacy symposium in Accra last Thursday, Mr Abdul-Hamid said government officials ought to be careful about their statements, else they would not be spared by the media.
“We are in an era when even a President or a Vice-President cannot get away with the things that he says. This means that one has to be careful about the information sent out,” he said.
Organised by the School of Information and Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, the symposium brought together stakeholders in the media industry to discuss issues regarding media growth and development.
It also aimed at bringing together key stakeholders interested in spearheading Media and Information Literacy (MIL) efforts in the country to deliberate on building a coalition to that effect.
The event, funded by UNESCO, was on the theme: ‘‘Providing a deliberate space for building a media and information literate society in Ghana’’.
Mr Abdul-Hamid said the flow of information in any democratic society was crucial because that distinguished a democratic society from a non-democratic one.
He said the era of centralising the flow of information was over, as there were multiple channels of information currently in the country.
He stressed the need for people to be information literate to help them interpret credible information from falsehood.
To that end, he said, the government had plans of building the capacity of media practitioners so that they would be well positioned to disseminate credible information to the populace.
The Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, said the forum would help media practitioners access, analyse and evaluate information.
Prof. Gadzekpo said there was no media literacy coalition in Ghana and, therefore, as scholars in the field of media and information, they ought to address that shortfall for practical and scholarly reasons.
The Coordinator of the Africa Centre for Media and Information Literacy in Nigeria, Mr Chido Onumah, in a keynote address, said MIL was vital for sustaining democratic societies and, therefore, the public must equip themselves with the relevant tools in order to take advantage of the subject matter.
He said MIL was crucial for tackling challenges in the global sphere and ensuring peaceful co-existence, adding: “Information affects our attitudes and how well we can take advantage to better our lives.’’