The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has extolled the importance of the media in nation-building and called on all stakeholders, especially the state, to support them.
He stated that no institution, including Parliament, could succeed without the role of the media.
The Speaker insisted that media institutions were a priority that every President should hold dear and invest in.
“In practical terms, you are the movers and shakers of politics and development.
There is no doubt about that and it is the reason every President should hold dear and invest in it,” Mr Bagbin said.
He made the assertion during a visit to the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) last Thursday to share his perspectives on the annual Press Freedom Index on Ghana and discuss how the media could partner Parliament to celebrate activities marking the 30th anniversary of parliamentary democracy.
Mr Bagbin also stressed the need for the public media to be protected since they represented the public interest.
“Yes, the private media is important because they have to reflect and prioritise the private interest, but the public media should be protected because of the larger public interest,” the Speaker added.
Impact of media
On the impact the media had made on his political aspirations, Mr Bagbin said he could not have made it in his political career without the media.
He recollected how the media propelled him when he was thrust into the position of a Minority Leader as “a young boy with new face” in 2001.
“It was the media that held me on, marketed, followed me around and made me what I am today. And so I hold dear the media,” the Speaker said.
Graphic shapes nation’s moral conscience
Alban Bagbin (left), Speaker of Parliament, in a chat with Ato Afful (2nd from left), MD; Theophilus Yartey (2nd from right), Editor, Graphic, and Samuel Essel, Director, Finance and Administration. Picture: DOUGLAS ANANE-FRIMPONG
During an interactive session with the Managing Director of GCGL, Ato Afful, the Editor, Graphic, Theophilus Yartey, and the editorial team of the Daily Graphic, the Speaker commended the Daily Graphic, the nation’s bestselling newspaper, for being what he described as “a shining example of media professionalism in Ghana.”
He said the flagship newspaper of GCGL had helped shape the nation’s moral conscience and impacted positively on business, economy, political and women empowerment.
“The Daily Graphic is always a shining example of leadership as it is quite a popular and well-known newspaper and that is why all newspapers in Ghana are referred to as Graphic,” he noted, adding, “I am part of your admirers.”
The Speaker said he was appreciative of the role and function the Daily Graphic and the media in general had played in the country’s fledgling democracy over the years.
He also congratulated the Daily Graphic on taking the lead as the captain of awardees in the media industry and championing women’s empowerment.
The Daily Graphic has a dedicated page on ‘Gender’, where it promotes and discusses issues affecting women, children and the vulnerable.
“Women empowerment is a passion to me because we have left our better halves far behind and it is not possible to leave them behind us,” the Speaker said.
While applauding the GCGL for being what he described as “a treasure trove”, Mr Bagbin said: “You have a house for research and many writers have always referred to your publications.”
“In global politics, we know the role you play and I am proud that anytime I am travelling I compare your publications to other international newspapers and you are on top there. You’re not just a newspaper but part of the social media,” the Speaker said.
The Speaker was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Kofi Attor; communications consultant, Gayheart Edem Mensah, and other staff.
Mr Afful stated that the company was one of the organisations that had been a key partner of the country’s progress and development.
He said GCGL had got quite a rich history and a proud one, adding that “we believe that decades of editors, writers and journalists, among others, have contributed immensely to enable this institution to come this far.”
Mr Afful said looking at 30 years of parliamentary democracy in the Fourth Republic, GCGL, with its body of writers and journalists, had chronicled that history and that of the country from pre-independence and independence till date.
“Therefore, we have a rich catalogue of what it is that will enable Ghanaians to have a fair assessment of how the media industry has evolved in this democracy.
“As the conscience of the nation, Graphic takes its mandate seriously,” Mr Afful added.
Others present at the meeting included the Director, Finance, Samuel Essel; News Editor, Samuel Doe Ablordeppey; Night Editor, Samuel Bio; Editor, Graphic Digital, Enoch Darfah Frimpong; the Corporate Communications Manager, Emmanuel Arthur, and other members of the editorial team.