Ghana's Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has revealed that the National Action Plan (NAP) to combat misinformation and disinformation is set to be implemented in 2024. The initiative aims to safeguard the integrity of information distributed to the public and foster a culture of national cohesion.
Speaking at the validation of the draft NAP, Minister Nkrumah stressed the pivotal role of information in sustaining democracy, providing insights into the policies and programs of political parties and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
“The Plan will include several strategies, including maintaining ethical standards in the media, encouraging fact-checking in public discussions, supporting high-quality journalism, and promoting civic education,” Nkrumah stated.
The announcement follows a recent National Conference on Disinformation and Misinformation, where stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organizations, media representatives, and development partners, agreed on a seven-point statement.
Concerns were raised about the potential threat misinformation poses to the country's security, particularly in the run-up to the 2024 general elections. Minister Nkrumah emphasized the need to sanitize the media landscape to prevent fear and panic.
He affirmed the Ministry of Information's commitment to supporting Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in development communication. Nkrumah encouraged full participation from stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan to tackle media disinformation.
Mr Mawuki K. Segbefia, Head of Policy, Planning, Budget, Monitoring, and Evaluation at MOI, highlighted the broadened concept of misinformation to include hate speech. The Plan's objectives include enhancing media literacy, promoting ethical journalism, and implementing mechanisms for reporting misinformation.
Drawing inspiration from countries like Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Finland, which have established legal frameworks to combat misinformation, Ghana aims to incorporate best practices into its NAP.
Participants in the validation proposed the integration of media literacy into the country's educational institutions and the establishment of fact-checking desks in newsrooms. Some participants suggested an independent body spearheading the Plan's development to ensure trust.