Mr. Robert Jackson, United States Ambassador to Ghana, has added his voice to the growing calls on government to pass the Right to Information Bill (RTI) to show that the country is truly serious about press freedom.
He said “Ghana will host the World Press Freedom Day in May, this year. I believe that it will be fantastic for it to pass the RTI to show that it is truly serious about press freedom and I will love to see it.”
Mr. Jackson said this when he interacted with selected journalists in Tamale on Sunday evening as part of his duty tour of the Northern Region to among others inaugurate four Community-based Health Planning and Services compounds in the region. Mr. Jackson lauded the government for its efforts to tackle corruption by passing the Special Prosecutor Act, and nominating the Special Prosecutor, but added that the RTI, which is believed to aid the fight against corruption, should also be passed into law.
Media practitioners and civil society organisations championing the fight against corruption have vigorously campaigned for the passage of the RTI into law, but the RTI is yet to see the light of day, more than a decade after it was introduced in Parliament.
The New Patriotic Party, whiles in opposition, promised to pass the RTI into law during its first year in government, but had failed to pass it as promised, and is now in its second year in government.
Mr. Jackson gave thumbs up to journalists in the country, saying there had been great improvement in journalism practice in the country over the past two years.
Mr. Jackson also spoke about the US Diversity Visa Lottery programme, saying more Ghanaians applied for the programme than people from any other country in the world in 2017, as the US Embassy in Accra recorded over 1.5 million applications from Ghana.