Ghana: Seek Redress, Not Attacks On Journalists

17 January 2022

Radio Ada, a community radio station at Ada in the Greater Accra Region, was attacked by thugs last Thursday around 11:30 a.m.

The eight attackers, one of whom was said to be wielding a pistol, beat up the presenter on duty and one other staff member, harassed some visitors and vandalized equipment, which led to the temporary shut-down of the station.

The attack was over the content of one of the station's flagship programmes.

A statement by the station's management says in part that "The attackers ... had come to vandalise the station because of its 'Manor Munyu' and other programmes discussing the recent developments in the Songor."

Songor refers to the Songor Lagoon in the area, its salt resources and issues concerning a15-year mining lease given to a company, Electrochem Ghana Limited, to exploit salt in the water body.

The Ghanaian Times is yet to get the details of the programme content on Thursday but like any other such attacks, the presenter might have raised an issue in favour of a party, which might have angered another.

The attack has been condemned by the government through the Ministry of Information, the police, other organisations and individuals, including Mr. Christian Corletey Otuteye,the Member of Parliament for Sege in the Greater Accra Region under whose jurisdiction the area falls.

Attacks on journalists in Ghana appears not stop any time soon as there has not been any year since the beginning of the 21st Century that has not recorded any such attacks.

The attacks come from various sources, which unfortunately include members of the security organisations.

For instance, on August 12, 2020, two TV3 reporters were harassed one of them taken to custody by security personnel, comprising soldiers, police and members of the AMA taskforce, for their attempt to file a television report on sanitation at the Tema Station in Accra.

Some of the attacks come from the other groups such as the students of a high school at Kukurantumi in the Eastern Region who, on July 7, 2020, attacked Emmanuel Pacome and destroyed his electronic gadgets while covering their attacks on officials of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) supervising the ongoing WASSCE examination.

And the Radio Ada attack can be described as one by members of the general public.

The attacks from the security personnel are most alarming as they constitute one of the law-enforcement agents, particularly the police among them, who would be called upon to help in the arrest and investigate into such criminal acts.

Whatever the sources of the attacks, those perpetrating them should first and foremost accept that their actions are barbaric and criminal and so once arrested, they would be prosecuted, jailed and their own freedom curtailed in some ways.

Therefore, the best thing for those who feel offended by news reports and any media outlet content or programme are to seek redress at the appropriate quarters, including management of the media house, the Ghana Journalists Association, the National Media Commission, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the courts.

In saying so, the Ghanaian Times would also like to remind editors, reporters, and programme anchors to do some self-censorship before putting out information so that they, as individuals and their media houses, would not incur the displeasure of others and consequently suffer costly attacks.

It is unfortunate to say, for example, that some media outlets, especially the Twi radio stations, must stop spewing out certain expressions such as profanity which they consider harmless but really inflame the sensibilities of others, who, with time can take such stations to the cleaners.

In a word, the Ghanaian Times is asking the members of the media fraternity to be guided by the rules or ethics in order to prevent attacks on them and their outlets.

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