The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is known for condemning the numerous assault on Journalists and always calls on the Ghana Police Service to investigate the matter but do not take appropriate steps to bring the perpetrators to book.
The only hope Journalists gets is that the authorities makes sure committees are set up to investigate the issue but no report is received after and so the perpetrators go unpunished.
All stakeholders of the country bares with the fact that, the media has a huge role to play when it comes to national development aside all the pains journalist go through and so their needs can’t be neglected.
Role of the Media
The media which is usually referred to as the fourth arm of government is responsible for upholding the effectiveness and accountability of government to the people. The media has also been highly recognized as a virile tool of applying persuasive efforts to influence people’s actions and inactions towards a particular positive direction.
Moving ahead, there should be a discussion further with regards to the security of Journalists or how to protect lives of workers in the media. The reason being that, the role of the media in Ghana’s drive towards achieving national prosperity would be relevant and secured if this is proactive measures are taken.
There has been series of events recorded on the assaults and assassination of journalists in the country.
Early this year, an undercover investigative journalist and a key member of Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Tiger Eye Private Investigations team, Ahmed Hussein-Suale, a 31 –year old man was shot dead.
Ahmed was shot three times, twice in the chest and another in the neck late one Wednesday night at Madina in Accra while driving home by unidentified men riding a motorbike.
As it stands now, no arrests have yet been made in connection with the blatant killing but it is assumed investigation is still ongoing.
Late last year, a Joy News reporter Parker Wilson was assaulted in the line of duty by a security member of Ex-president John Mahama as detailed.
He was allegedly slapped by the security man and the assault left the journalist visibly bruised with part of his face swollen and his right eye teary with pain. How did it end?
Just last Thursday, three journalists from the Ghanaian Times newspaper who were on their way for the day’s assignment were on Thursday morning assaulted by about ten police officers at Kinbu in Accra Central.
The assault followed a traffic offence and an accident involving a police officer who was using an unregistered motorcycle and the official Ghanaian Times vehicle, which was transporting the journalists to their various assignment venues.
The about 10 police officers who were not happy that the journalists had tried to record (video) the accident and the ensuing exchanges between their driver and the police motor rider, pounced on the journalists and physically assaulted them.
Mr Malik Sullemana, a court reporter, Mrs Raissa Sambou, a general reporter and Mr Salifu Abdul Rahman, an assistant editor, felt the full effect of the brute force used by the police officers, leading to two of them being sent to hospital to receive medical attention.
Mrs Sambou, a nursing mother who recently gave birth through surgery (caesarean) was rushed to the emergency unit of the Ridge Hospital, while Sullemana, who received a chunk of the assault was locked up at the Ministries Police Station, but was later released.
These are among many other records of Journalists being assaulted where there have not been any serious action taken against the perpetrators.
The same Rhetoric would continue without any punitive measures taking against the police men.
Enough of this barbarism! How long would this continue, authorities should end the rhetoric and take action with legal backing. Inasmuch as they do not want the media to be too powerful, their security must be ensured.
The Way Forward
Where are we heading to as a country in terms of security? Should innocent souls continue to perish before authorities rise to the subject?
GJA is acting like a toothless bull dog, where they issue Press Releases without getting to the root of the issues. As an association, how best are they protecting Journalists in the country. They should fight justice for journalists to make one being a member attractive and safer. The time has come for them to go beyond writing Press Statement and organising Press Conferences to taking actions.
GJA must put together proactive measures that would protect lives of Journalists and the profession. The profession will gradually lose it value and relevance if it continues like this.
It is not only the duty of the GJA to protect journalists, but all stakeholders of the media should play a role in pursuing Justice.
Fellow Journalists and key players in the media, National Media Commission, Ministry of Communication among others must rise to condemn this series of attacks and punish perpetrators outrightly for it to serve as a deterrent to others.
Ghanaians cannot undermine the role of the media in building a stronger democratic society. Journalists work so hard, sometimes cover assignments or programmes late in the night while others risk their lives to get daring stories to the public, yet their efforts are not recognised rather we treat them like criminals while others see them as threats.
Journalism is not a crime, therefore Change Agent Media, is calling all stakeholders to rise to the occasion to end this barbaric act which has taken heels in the country.
Editor: Ms. Emmanuella Oduro Appiah