Prof Kwame Karikari, a Ghanaian expert in media issues, has told African media practitioners to consider media as an important tool in the democratisation process on the continent.
He made the remarks yesterday at a forum aimed at discussing how local journalists’ skills can be enhanced.
Karikari is also the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa.
The forum brought together, among other participants, Rwandan media owners and editors to discuss ways of developing a better practising environment as well as promoting professionalism.
In an interview, Karikari, noted that for democracy to prevail on the continent, there was need for building a vibrant media that would help to inform the public about government policies.
“Without the media, democracy is like a body without oxygen…for democracy to develop, it requires a vibrant media; media must be part of the democratisation process in a country,” he said.
Karikari called for more investment in the media industry to compete favourably on the international arena.
The don pointed out that some media houses fail to sustain themselves due to lack adverts, adding that for a newspaper to sustainably grow, 70 percent of the content must be adverts.
Kwame will also train media owners and managers on how to improve managerial skills and capacity to improve their business and financial sustainability.
Patrice Mulama, the Executive Secretary of Media High Council, observed that the country is still faced with low levels of professionalism, saying that about 30 percent of practitioners have journalistic knowledge.
“We want to equip practitioners and owners as well as editors with journalistic skills .We realised that in the country, at least 30 percent of media practitioners have acquired journalism training.”
Mulama explained that many media houses have been established but failed to sustain themselves due to lack of experienced journalists to operate them.