Government on Sunday commended the Ghanaian media for its "inspirational role across Africa" despite the challenges facing practitioners.
In a statement signed by Mr James Agyenim-Boateng, Deputy Minister of Information to commemorate World Press Freedom Day, the government identified some of these challenges to include low wages and salaries for many journalists and the need to improve standards and enhance the role of the media as a key partner in development.
It said the government remained committed to the passage of the Right to Information Bill into law, pointing out that it recognised the concerns of various stakeholders that needed to be carefully considered by cabinet.
"The NDC is not only committed to strengthening the media by helping to improve on the standard of its practitioners, but also dedicated to ensuring easy access to information and a positive engagement of the media in its efforts at improving the living conditions of Ghanaians.
" The statement said the theme for this year's commemoration - "The Potential of the Media in Fostering Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation" - threw a challenge to the Ghanaian media.
It said Government agreed with UNESCO that "only a media that is vibrant, independent, pluralistic, inclusive and fair, editorially free and beyond censorship and influence from owners or interests can contribute to dialogue and reconciliation across divides.
" The statement said it was government's expectation that the media would continue to play its rightful role, mindful of the fact that it could only help in promoting tolerance and getting feuding parties to accept each other when it was also able to strengthen the principles and practices of a free and professional media.
"As we join the Ghana Journalists' Association and the media generally to celebrate the 2009 World Press Freedom Day, we condemn unreservedly attacks either verbal or physical on journalists, and wish to advise all to desist from such practices," the statement said.
Government also called on media owners and managers to pay their staff reasonable wages and salaries, and must work to improve their competences through various training programs as a step towards improving journalism standards.