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When it comes to media freedom in Africa, it is always difficult to understand why most African governments have problems with the press. Most of the problems started when countries became independent. The story line is almost always the same. A new government comes in, usually with the support of the media - newspapers, radio, television. The government may even declare press freedom. It seems so long as the press is on the side of the government then there seems to be happy 'marriage' between the two.

The problem starts when the press starts revealing some anomalies within the government establishment or worse if the critism is layed directly at the leader's or president's door. If the press critism continues, then it inevitably leads to censorship and eventually a blanket ban on all media considered 'enemies of the state'.

Ghana is one of the African states which has undergone all the various stages mentioned above. Before the Kuffour government from year 2000 there was constant friction between the media and the government. But the country can now be proud of the degree of tolerance and leadership which have genuinely restored media freedom to Ghana. There are many daily newspapers and weeklies, radio stations springing up everywhere and television too.

Most of these are privately or co-oporatively owned. Now the struggle is not the media against the government but how the media can gain customers, viewers or listerners and keep them. The freedom now enjoyed is something to be envied by some African countries. Having said that, some press are so irresponsible they tend to go to print about issues they know very well have not been investigated. Such press just feed on 'hear-say' and that is not journalism.

It will help all of us to make sure what we put in the public domain is checked and verified. There are examples where peoples lives have been ruined, marriages splitting up etc, just because some care-less writer published something they had never bothered to investigate.

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