The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has called on all journalists across the country not to succumb to persons or agencies who may try to silence them in order to perpetuate criminal acts and destroy the freedom of the media.
Professor Kwame Karikari, Board Member of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) indicated that ‘throwing in the towel’ will spell doom for journalists.
“We must not feel frightened and retreat into fear by the dark forces attempting to send us back into the abyss of silence and self-censorship. We must not give in to forces who would silence the media in order that they may perpetuate criminality and the destruction of our hard-won freedoms. We must not give up because the forces are in fringe minority, whoever they are, who fear the light of democracy. To give in is to acquiesce in our own damnation.”
The MFWA has recorded a total number of 22 violations against journalists and media workers from February 2019 to March 2019.
This increasing number of abuses and culture of impunity continues to threaten the safety of journalists in the country.
According to the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders, Ghana has dropped four places from 23rd to 27th in 2019.
“The threats of death to the lives of journalists is a total new development that requires concern by government and all democracy-loving Ghanaians. We must appeal to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo personally to find occasion to address the issues publicly. Government and the political parties must publicly condemn these threats and censure their individual comrades whose utterances and actions tend to support violence against media and journalists.”
Mr Karikari noted that some citizens and institutional leaders resort to arbitrary violent means when dealing with the media over contents they disagree with or consider unacceptable instead of using the right to rejoinder. This act he says must cease.
Speaking at the Stakeholder’s Dialogue on the theme: ‘Safety of Journalists in Ghana’, ACP David Eklu, Director-General of Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police stated that all media owners have a responsibility to educate their journalists on their safety when present on conflict grounds.
Adding that it is necessary for journalists to distinguish themselves from others by identification.
“Identification of the journalist is key… the responsibilities of media owners is also very key, do you give any security briefing to your journalists before they go on such operations? What about command and control, how many journalist are familiar with the ranking of the Ghana Police Service? He asks.
There are clear protocols, I believe it is by training and discussion and information made available to all media houses.”