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Religion of Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Source: Thompson, Kofi

COMMENT: Media houses must sue T.B. Joshua's church

By Kofi Thompson

If it is true that security men working for the private religious organisation of Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua, the General Overseer of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations ( SCOAN), actually detained four journalists on their church's premises yesterday, then it is important that the media houses that employ those four journalists, sue Pastor T. B. Joshua's church - for unlawful detention, abuse of their human rights, and ask for exemplary damages for the trauma they experienced: as a result of the high-handed manner in which they were treated by those SCOAN security men.

It is simply unacceptable that journalists in what is a democracy can be treated in such cavalier fashion, by, of all things, being unlawfully detained by a christian organisation's security men.

In all such circumstances, an assault on one journalist, is an assault on all journalists and press freedom in Ghana.

The leadership of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), ought to ensure that an example is set in this instance, for all those who in future might want to follow the terrible example of T. B. Joshua's arrogant security men - by taking the matter up and joining the media houses that employ the four journalists - abused in such egregious fashion - to sue the Synagogue Church Of All Nations promptly in the law courts.

Ghanaian journalists play an important role in our democracy, by holding those in power accountable - and giving voice to the voiceless: as well as fighting for the rights of the marginalised in society.

Media professionals ought to be able to go about their work daily, without fearing that if manhandled, their assailants will get away scot-free without facing any sanctions.

The media, which in a sense constitutes a fourth branch of government, acts as an effective check against the abuse of power, by the three arms of government under our constitution: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

The Ghanaian media is a bulwark of freedom that prevents the three arms of government from colluding to undermine the freedoms of Ghanaians.

In an open society like ours, nothing can justify assaulting journalists.

That is why the media houses that employ the four journalists unlawfully detained by security men working for Pastor T. B. Joshua's private religious organisation, ought to sue the Synagogue Church Of All Nations in the law courts promptly. A word to the wise...

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

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