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General News of Tuesday, 14 September 2021


Arrest supporters of Owusu Bempah who attacked journalists – Outgoing GJA President

Roland Affail Monney is the outgoing President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Roland Affail Monney is the outgoing President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)

Outgoing President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) Roland Affail Monney has urged the Ghana Police Service to move swiftly to arrest persons purported to be supporters of the embattled pastor, Rev. Isaac Owusu Bempah, who attacked journalists at the court premises on Monday, September 13.

He said his outfit expects the police to arrest the culprits and bring them to 'face the sharp edge of the law' as soon as possible.

Mr Monney also admonished the police to make arrangements to protect journalists whenever they come in danger of an attack in their line of duty in the country.

He said the journalists, by virtue of their oath, cannot refuse to report any such news-worthy events anytime they happen because journalists have an obligation to bring the public up to speed with happenings in the country.

Mr Monney pointed out that, in keeping with their mandate to bring accurate news to the general public, the journalists cannot sacrifice their lives and safety in doing so.

He thus emphasized that "no story is far more important than the life of a journalist and so under no circumstance should we (journalists) sacrifice our lives on the altar of stories, no matter how juicy those stories are" in the country.

The GJA President admonished the lettered professionals to heighten their sense of security in the line of duty in reporting around the country, so they don't fall easy prey to brutalities, as has been witnessed at the court premises on Monday.

Asked what has come of the legal team his outfit constituted to deal with cases of assault on journalists around the country, the President of the lettered professionals said, "indeed our announcement of a legal team was not empty rhetoric or platitudes; in fact, we have instituted such legal team, and the team has been in action in a number of cases, notably Hajia Fati and Bethel Takyiwa of Multimedia fame. Their legal team is headed by Sampson Lardie Anyenini, and we have pursued that matter to its logical conclusion until Hajia Fati was fined".

Mr Monney said the legal team also rallied to the defence of two journalists of Modern Ghana and the Ghana Report who were arrested by National Security personnel and eventually secured the freedom of those journalists.

He pointed out that the recent assault on journalists by the adherents of the pastor at the court premises has been addressed to them to effect the necessary action against them in the face of the blatant impunity,

Mr Monney made this call in an interview with Johnnie Hughes on the New Day show on TV3, September 14.

He was commenting on the back of the blatant attacks on journalists in their line of duties, especially the assault on journalists at the court premises to report on the arraignment of Rev. Isaac Owusu Bempah on Monday, September 13, for allegedly threatening another pastor Nana Agradaa at her home in Sowutuom in Accra.

"We are overly concerned and utterly shocked at what happened at the court premises yesterday. First of all, let me empathize with colleagues who were subjected to such brutalities through no fault of theirs. One would have expected that the police authorities would have anticipated what happened yesterday and proactively prevented it from happening because this seems to be the dominant theme of people who offend the law.

"In the case of Owusu Bempah and his supporters, one doesn't need a superfluity of evidence to conclude that they are in a different world. Until yesterday when he was arraigned before court, he felt he was larger than life, and he had enveloped himself in waters of untouchability," Mr Monney said on the New Day.

He concluded that "we expect the police authorities, we expect the law and order community to move swiftly to arrest the perpetrators to deal with them surgically according to law".

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