The Management of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) has affirmed its commitment with its reportage on the roll out of the USAID Justice Sector Support Project (JSSP), to ensure efficiency in the justice system.
The Managing Director of the GCGL, Ato Afful, during a courtesy call on him at his office by the implementing partners of the JSSP, assured the delegation that the state media, through its newspapers and online platforms, will work closely with the JSSP. Discussions on the necessary arrangements also took center stage during the visit.
The JSSP delegation included, the Media Specialist on the project, Mr. Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Mr. Samuel Fant Kombian and the Project Officer, Ms. Patience Lamisi.
Mr. Afful said information had become crucial as people most often have little knowledge of their rights, hence the need for the media to have access to relevant information to enable them to adequately equip citizens to know their rights.
“As a national media brand that has a mandate to educate and inform, we are obliged to pass on adequate information to the public. We appreciate information and training because access to information is critical to the dissemination of information. You cannot be accurate and factual if you do not have access.” He said.
He called on Parliament to pass the Non-Custodial Sentencing bill into law to reduce the congestion in the country’s prisons.
The MD deplored the situation where so-called big men in society trample upon the rights of the poor because of their inability to pay for the services of lawyers or seek redress for such infractions in court.
He therefore tasked the media to be loud on infractions of the law that affect petty offenders, the poor and the vulnerable in society.
Mr. Afful’s concerns were re-echoed by the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr. Cobby Asmah who indicated that the difficulty in accessing information and the lack of education have contributed to a situation where the lettered take advantage of the poor who are sometimes given outrageous sentences for petty crimes they commit.
“The difficulty in accessing information has made ignorant people to fill the space. If you don’t cross the media, it won’t reflect you.” He said.
Mr. Asmah commended the US government, for its support to the Ghana Case Tracking System (CTS) to reform the justice system in the country and pledged the Daily Graphic’s willingness to publish information on the project.
He also praised Crime Check Foundation’s (CCF) efforts in advocating for the passage of the Non-Custodial Sentencing bill into law and the role it plays in defending the rights of petty offenders.
“We are more than willing to support you to bring justice delivery to the doorsteps of the ordinary person.” He said
The Media Specialist for the JSSP, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, intimated the role of the media in seeing to the success of the project to enhance justice delivery in the country.
“The media’s role is very crucial when it comes to educating the citizenry. We have therefore come to seek your collaboration to use your platforms to champion the essence of the USAID Justice Sector Support Activity. As a result of lack of education many individuals have difficulty in accessing justice especially when their rights are abused. We believe that, the partnership will go a long way to ensure that breaches in the justice sector are curtailed.” He said.
The implementing team also paid courtesy calls on the management of other media houses including the Despite Media Group, Multimedia Group Limited, Media General and the Ghana News Agency (GNA), all in a bid to court their partnership.
Mr. Kwarteng explained, that the project intends to work with regional correspondents of the various media houses and others who will be appointed as Media Ambassadors to promote the project.
The media organizations hailed the project and committed to offer the necessary support to ensure its success.
About the USAID JSS Activity
This is an Activity which focuses on monitoring and sustaining the implementation of Ghana`s Case Tracking System (CTS), which is a software system aimed at employing technology solutions to track criminal cases from inception until being disposed of. The Activity which is being implemented in forty (40) target Districts in seven (7) Regions of Ghana combines mutually complementary methodologies including; Rights-Based, People-Centered, and enhanced Social Accountability Approaches based on lessons learnt in the justice space. It aims at ensuring that marginalized communities through mobilization and innovative public education programs are aware of and supported to track progress of the delivery of the CTS. The Activity also focuses on monitoring and advocating for the utilization of the CTS by targeted key Justice Sector Institutions (JSIs), mobilizing Citizen Monitoring Groups (CMGs) to monitor the CTS process, facilitating demand for its functionality, accountability, and responsiveness by relevant State Institutions, promoting legislative and policy reform and advocating better coordination among the key JSIs and civil society. These will be achieved by; increasing citizen knowledge and access to Justice Sector services, strengthening advocacy interventions for accountability of key Justice Sector Institutions to improve justice delivery, and increasing citizens’ oversight and monitoring of criminal cases.