Ambassador Sullivan’s Goodwill Remarks at
Ministry of Information’s
Media Capacity Enhancement Program
Monday, January 10, 2022
Manyhia Palace, Kumasi, Ghana
His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II;
Honorable Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah;
Mr. George Sarpong, Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission;
Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism and Chairman of the Working Committee;
Mr. Affail Monney, President of the Ghana Journalists Association;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
All protocols observed:
I am so pleased to be here at the invitation of his royal majesty the Asantehene and the Minister of Information. Thank you for your kind invitation to participate. Today kicks off a very important program for Ghana. One that will appropriately strengthen press freedom and accountability.
Freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and freedom of the press are fundamental principles for every democracy. Without even one of these, democracy cannot long survive. A safe, free, professional, and responsible media supports democratic principles and informs current public policy debates so that voters can make informed decisions.
It’s been said that information is the currency of democracy. And that’s where you come in. Your role as journalists is fundamental to public debate on key issues. With a stroke of the pen, you can highlight a public problem or injustice. You can show people how public policy is working or isn’t working. You can hold government and public officials accountable to their promises. You can ask tough questions that demand answers. But with that power comes great responsibility.
It’s essential to do your research. Check and double-check your sources. Seek a different perspective. Don’t be misled by a Kweku Ananse who feeds you one side of a story! We are all better served by well-rounded, fact-based reporting that allows the public to hear all sides. Often that means not being the first to break the news.
With strong and professional reporting, you can bring balance to public policy debates. You can remove emotion and replace it with the facts that let us all participate in democracy. You can give a voice to all sides in a debate, even if you personally disagree with some views.
The United States is an ardent defender of a free and responsible press that can operate safely. We support various programs throughout the year that strengthen press freedom, and also strengthen journalism as a profession. Because we, too, believe that accurate information is the currency of democracy.
To that end, we have just released our annual call for funding proposals, including programs that promote press freedom, media literacy, and combatting disinformation and misinformation. The deadline to submit Statements of Interest is February 1. I hope some of you will consider applying for this opportunity.
I’d like to close by congratulating the Ministry of Information, the National Media Commission, the Ghana Journalists Association, the Ghana Institute of Journalism, the University of Ghana, and others for their contributions to this program. We stand behind you in this effort and are ready to assist in any way that we can.
We are pleased to be here among our friends to support this initiative. Thank you for your kind attention.