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General News of Thursday, 9 November 2000

Source: GNA

Journalists body worried about arrest of members

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Tuesday said it has noted with concern the two "unfortunate incidents" involving the arrest and interrogation of Nana Kofi Coomson, publisher of the Ghanaian Chronicle, and Mr. Odartey-Wellington, a media commentator.

A statement issued in Accra said the two incidents are unfortunate because they tend to send wrong signals in terms of a conducive environment required for campaigning in the period before election, especially as it relates to the crucial role of the media.

The GJA said it is at a loss to fathom the role of the BNI Bureau of National Investigations) in the management of the alleged infringement of the law. It said the need for transparency and regard for due processes in the handling of such situation with possible political undertone cannot be over-emphasised.

"In such a situation, the police, as the sole investigative agency and respecting due processes, would definitely have been a better option provided complainants felt so strong about the criminal aspect of the reported incidents."

The Association appealed to all who feel aggrieved by the work of media practitioners or commentators to make use of the rejuvenated Ethics/Disciplinary Committee of the GJA and the Media Commission in the first instance.

It also appealed to all parties involved in the present dispute to exercise restraint and circumspection as efforts are intensified to facilitate the resolution of the issues involved in the wider interest of Ghana and in cognisance of the letter and spirit of the constitution.