Ghana: Safety of Journalists and Election 2020

26 October 2020

The safety of journalists is paramount if they are to work professionally, produce and share information without facing physical and verbal threat.

There is no doubt that journalists face violence and intimidation for exerting their right to practice their profession.

As is already known, many journalists have died, some maimed in line of duty.

These attacks have occurred in spite of the protection that journalists may have under the Constitution.

Those who attack journalists ignore these protections with impunity and attack journalists all the time.

Going into the election in December, the safety of journalists has already began occupying the minds of those who think that the media must be protected under the laws of the country.

One such body is the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) whose president at the 25th GJA Awards night in Accra did not mince words when he said journalists should sharpen their sense of security in order not to fall easy prey to violent and brutish hoodlums who attack journalists without let or hindrance.

Describing such people as having no sense of shame, twinge of guilt or prick of conscience he said such rogue elements must keep their hands off journalists and their media houses during and after the general elections.

He urged anyone who is dissatisfied with the work of a journalist to seek redress at the appropriate quarters, namely the National Media Commission, GJA or even the law court.

Impunity he said should not take the place of civility in the country.

We cannot agree more with the president as we enter the final stage of campaigning towards election 2020.

Already, tension is rising with supporters of some of the political parties especially the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress engaging themselves in violent clashes in some parts of the country.

In clashes as the one that took place over the weekend, journalists become vulnerable and victims in the said circumstances.

In some other cases, they are attacked directly and that is where we add our voice to the call that no one should arrogate the power to him or herself and attack any journalist during this year's elections.

Journalists are important not only to our democracy but the development of our country.

They must therefore be protected from attacks so that they can contribute towards the development of the country.

Ayeeko to all journalists.

The GJA at the weekend held a colourful awards night at the Movenpick Ambassdor Hotel in Accra to honour media personnel who have excelled in their work.

Dubbed "the GJA Media Excellence Award," the association honoured outstanding journalists among them the Journalist of the Year which went to Sampson Lardi Ayenini, the host of Newsfile on JoyNews.

The Ghanaian Times congratulates all the award winners for holding high the quality of journalism in the country.

We hope that the recognition would spur them on to greater heights in the future.

Once again, we say ayeeko!

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