In Ghana, the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI-Ghana) recently launched a project to help diffuse economic freedom and question the status quo through journalism. Through African Journalists for Liberty, ILAPI-Ghana hopes to inspire African journalists to share messages of freedom, individual liberty, and economic principles to improve economic freedom and prosperity for law-abiding citizens.
At a conference on May 6, six speakers from ILAPI-Ghana, the Network for a Free Society and the Sierra Leone Liberty Group addressed 27 journalists from Ghanaian media outlets. Topics included bribery in the media, integration of economic freedom in journalism, the use of political morning shows to educate the public and not being afraid to “ruffle feathers and ask the hard questions.”
“Journalism, the fourth arm of government and the driving force of information, has the biggest role to play to ensuring free and fair distribution of wealth,” stated ILAPI-Ghana Executive Director Peter Bismark Kwofie. “It is imperative to question everything the government does because everything has cost, which is paid for with money taken from the people in the form of taxes or borrowing or printing the money; but politicians do not like to talk about costs, they like to talk about the benefits of a project.”
After the speaker sessions, participants engaged in a workshop activity. Three groups of journalists examined situations in Ghana that demonstrated a disregard for freedom in the areas of trade, security and rule of law. After presenting their findings, the group with the best presentation was awarded books and souvenirs. ILAPI-Ghana also recognized freelance journalist McAnthony Dagyenga as winner of the 2017 Africa Journalist for Liberty Essay Competition.
At the end of the conference, participants commended the initiative. Oppong Kyekyeku of Radio One remarked that “I have not heard of economic freedom or free market since I started my work as a media man. This conference has really opened my eyes on issues of understanding why politicians don’t talk about prosperity but usually defend their political parties.”
Kyekyeku and the other attendees indicated that their new knowledge will guide them in reporting on issues of liberty, property rights, economic freedom and entrepreneurship for a critical public discourse.