The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has countered assertions that there is a creeping culture of silence in the country.
According to him, such perceptions only come from those who cannot withstand criticism. The Minister said this when he met with journalists in the North East Region on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, as part of the government’s measures to deepen freedom of speech and access to information in the country.
“This claim that there is something called the culture of silence in this country cannot be true. This is a country of about 500 radio stations, about 100 TV stations, millions of social media accounts and everybody is freely expressing themselves. What some persons cannot stand is that when they express their thoughts and other people speak that they disagree, then they claim you are silencing them. Respectfully, that is the beauty of our democracy, that I will have my say, and you can disagree with me,” Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said.
Statesman, Sir Sam Jonah, while delivering a speech at a public lecture with Rotarians in Accra about two weeks ago, remarked that a culture of silence was slowly creeping into the country through convenience, hypocrisy and parochialism.
“It appears to me that in recent times in our Fourth Republican dispensation, the courage to stand up for the truth and the determination to uphold the common good is lost. In our dark moments as a nation, it is concerning that the voices of the intellectuals are receding into oblivion. Sadly, it is a consequence of the deep partisan polarisation of our country such that everything is seen through the lenses of politics.”
“It appears to me that the culture of silence has returned. This time not enforced by legal and military power but through convenience, parochialism, hypocrisy, and a lack of conviction. Where are our Adu Boahens and PV Ansahs?” he said.
His comment has elicited several responses, with former president John Agyekum Kufuor indicating that the comment should not be treated casually but probed.
The Minister for Information has previously expressed his disagreement with the assertion of a culture of silence in Ghana.
While commissioning the office for the Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists in Accra earlier this week, he said the office was an additional layer, aside from many other interventions demonstrating the government’s commitment to press freedom and the safety of journalists.
“It is the reason I cannot agree that there is a culture of silence in Ghana because the government is committed to the culture of free media in Ghana,” he stated at that event.