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Journalists schooled on Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill
NEWS | GACC News


 
Civil society organisations (CSOs) yesterday schooled selected journalists in Accra on the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Bill and urged them to take a keen interest in the parliamentary debate before the bill is passed into law.

The CSOs further asked journalists to use their media organisations to follow the various stages of the bill, as well as the public discourse on the various issues surrounding it and also ensure that the public was adequately informed.

The CSOs involved in the training were the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Ghana Integrity Initiative and the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)

It was part of a media dialogue on the bill aimed at sensitising journalists to obtain first-hand information on the bill and what it entails.

Crucial role of journalists

Setting the tone as a moderator of the dialogue, the Dean of the School of Communications Studies of the Wisconsin International University College, Professor Kwame Karikari, underscored the crucial role of journalists in ensuring accountability and transparency of the OSP.

He urged them to sharpen their skills on the operations of the OSP and use their influence “to put their toes to the fire” to ensure that the parliamentarians did a thorough job to produce a good law.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) yesterday schooled selected journalists in Accra on the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Bill and urged them to take a keen interest in the parliamentary debate before the bill is passed into law.

The CSOs further asked journalists to use their media organisations to follow the various stages of the bill, as well as the public discourse on the various issues surrounding it and also ensure that the public was adequately informed.

The CSOs involved in the training were the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Ghana Integrity Initiative and the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)

It was part of a media dialogue on the bill aimed at sensitising journalists to obtain first-hand information on the bill and what it entails.

Crucial role of journalists

Setting the tone as a moderator of the dialogue, the Dean of the School of Communications Studies of the Wisconsin International University College, Professor Kwame Karikari, underscored the crucial role of journalists in ensuring accountability and transparency of the OSP.

He urged them to sharpen their skills on the operations of the OSP and use their influence “to put their toes to the fire” to ensure that the parliamentarians did a thorough job to produce a good law.

Manual

Prof. Karikari advised the CSOs to draft a manual for the media, which would contain a simplified form of the bill and the Act when it was passed into law, to enable the media to track the activities of the office.

He also asked the CSOs to replicate the dialogue in the other regions to equip those journalists in the regions to ask the relevant questions and also to help educate their listeners and readers.

Appointment of Special Prosecutor

The resource persons were unanimous in their request that the appointment of the Special Prosecutor as contained in the bill should be done in a transparent and open manner to prevent any doubts of alignments.

Speaking on the topic,:“CSOs perspectives on the OSP Bill,” a Senior Research Fellow with the CDD, Ghana, Dr Kojo Asante, said the appointment process was key to the independence of the office.

He suggested that the selection process of the SP should be opened to interested and qualified members of the public.

The applicants, he said, must be selected through a rigorous process, and pruned down to three, who would then be presented to Parliament for vetting and subsequent approval by majority of the parliamentarians.

For his part, the Vice-President of Imani Ghana, Mr Kofi Bentil, said the appointment needed to be transparent so that the person to be appointed would be accountable to the people of Ghana.

He explained that when the appointee was seen not to be effective, the people could channel their grievances against the person through their representatives in Parliament.

Funding

Speaking on the overview of the OSP, Mr Bentil rejected the sources of funding of the office as contained in the bill, which included donations and grants, saying that could compromise the independence of the office.

He said the nation could put funds aside for the running of the office instead of relying on donor partners.

Mr Bentil, however, said with the exception of some few things to be tackled, “we believe the country is ready to go for the office.”

 

Prof. Karikari advised the CSOs to draft a manual for the media, which would contain a simplified form of the bill and the Act when it was passed into law, to enable the media to track the activities of the office.

He also asked the CSOs to replicate the dialogue in the other regions to equip those journalists in the regions to ask the relevant questions and also to help educate their listeners and readers.

Appointment of Special Prosecutor

The resource persons were unanimous in their request that the appointment of the Special Prosecutor as contained in the bill should be done in a transparent and open manner to prevent any doubts of alignments.

Speaking on the topic,:“CSOs perspectives on the OSP Bill,” a Senior Research Fellow with the CDD, Ghana, Dr Kojo Asante, said the appointment process was key to the independence of the office.

He suggested that the selection process of the SP should be opened to interested and qualified members of the public.

The applicants, he said, must be selected through a rigorous process, and pruned down to three, who would then be presented to Parliament for vetting and subsequent approval by majority of the parliamentarians.

For his part, the Vice-President of Imani Ghana, Mr Kofi Bentil, said the appointment needed to be transparent so that the person to be appointed would be accountable to the people of Ghana.

He explained that when the appointee was seen not to be effective, the people could channel their grievances against the person through their representatives in Parliament.

Funding

Speaking on the overview of the OSP, Mr Bentil rejected the sources of funding of the office as contained in the bill, which included donations and grants, saying that could compromise the independence of the office.

He said the nation could put funds aside for the running of the office instead of relying on donor partners.

Mr Bentil, however, said with the exception of some few things to be tackled, “we believe the country is ready to go for the office.”

Source: https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/journalists-schooled-on-office-of-the-special-prosecutor-bill.html

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