ABL marks world press Freedom Day with GJA

May 7, 2017
Source: thebftonline.com/Ghana
ABL marks world press Freedom Day with GJA

Accra Brewery Limited (ABL), in consistency with its annual support for press freedom and high journalistic standards in the country has commemorated World Press Freedom Day in Accra with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

ABL in keeping with its tradition of providing financial support to the media fraternity, donated GHC10, 000 to the GJA

This gesture is an annual one that began nine years ago.  Additionally, ABL provides annual assistance towards the GJA Awards and sponsors the award for the Best Reporter in the Arts & Entertainment category.

Speaking at the flag raising ceremony, the Corporate Affairs Manager of ABL, Cyrus deGraft-Johnson commended the media for its invaluable contribution to the socio-cultural and economic development in the country.

“We in the business sector have a symbiotic relationship with the media.  We need credible and accurate information to enable us take certain decisions and the media also needs interesting facts and figures from us to inform the public”.  Mr deGraft-Johnson said.

Whiles stressing the need for the G hana Journalist Association to encourage its members to uphold the tenets of ethical and professional journalism, he reaffirmed the company’s commitment to working within the regulatory and legal framework as well as playing a leading advocacy role for authentic business information.

He wondered why efforts at passaging the Right to Information Bill is yet to see the light of day, in spite of the sustained advocacy by business and civil society groups, noting that: ‘We at ABL therefore join business, civil society organisations and all well-meaning Ghanaians in a collective effort to get the Freedom of Information Law and the Broadcasting Law passed.  We are hopeful that the assurances from the Information Minister Hon. Mustapha Hamid and the Leadership of Parliament will see the light of day before this year ends. ’’

Shedding light on the importance of the RTI to cementing Ghana’s quest for a true culture of free access to credible information, Mr deGraft-Johnson averred that ‘‘when ratified, the Right to Information Law will provide the legal and ethical framework, setting the ground rules to guide the numerous traditional media outlets on how to conduct the business of information gathering and dissemination.’’

He however reminded  stakeholders of the need to widen the scope of the legal regime to include social media, which, albeit unregulated, is fast becoming the new norm and the platforms of choice for mass communication.

‘‘Are we factoring these into the form, structure and spirit of the Broadcasting Law and the Freedom of Information Bill?  What are the considerations being made? He queried.

Mr deGraft-Johnson reiterated that ‘‘Joining ABInBev, the world’s largest brewery, in October 2016, has renewed ABL’s energy and commitment to bringing people together for a better world, a world where everyone has the opportunity to improve their livelihood.

 ‘‘We strive to achieve this everyday by combining and aligning our scale, resources and energy to the needs of our communities, providing the drive and tools that propel people to achieve their dreams and make it happen”, he noted further.

Marked on May 3 annually, the World Press Freedom Day presents stakeholders in the media an opportunity to reflect and evaluate the fundamental principles of press freedom around the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence whilst paying tribute to journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty.  The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Critical Minds for Critical Times’.

Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) has in recent years seen a complete revamp of its production processes with the completion of a USD100million expansion project.  ABL has over the years also introduced innovative beverages and shown commitment to the best practices in its manufacturing processes by placing emphasis on conserving water as well as reducing energy use and waste reduction.

The company has embarked on numerous community support initiatives across the country including campaigns in schools against under-age drinking and in hospitals on the negative effect of alcohol during pregnancy.  Its retailers have also benefited from responsible alcohol retailing programmes and business appreciation skills training.

Additionally, ABL has steadily increased the use of locally grown raw materials over the past ten years and today approximately 50% of its agricultural input is sourced locally.