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General News of Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Source: GNA

Minister condemns attacks on journalists during election processes

Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Enam Hadzide Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Enam Hadzide

The Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Enam Hadzide, has condemned the verbal and physical attacks on some media personnel in relation to the recent December 7 elections.

The development, he said, impeded the freedom and independence of the media in the discharge of their duties, as it also threatened the rule of law and democratic processes.

“Perpetrators of such acts must be made to face the full rigours of the law to enable journalists to be safe in carrying out their duties without fear or favour,” he noted.

Some Ghanaian media personnel were subjected to verbal and physical attacks during the recent Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, a development which tends to taint the country’s reputation as regards freedom of the media.

Mr Hadzide, addressing a workshop on the ‘Safety of Journalists’, held in Kumasi, said the media had a crucial role to play in the country’s democratic dispensation.

Therefore, the government was committed to promoting their safety.

The National Media Commission (NMC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information (MOI) organized the programme, with support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The workshop aimed at engaging the key media fraternities and experts, the academia and allied groups with the objective to discuss the framework on the safety of journalists.

That will provide well-coordinated and sufficient support to journalists and avoid duplication of safety of journalists’ interventions.

It was also to verify and validate allegations of assaults against journalists and complement efforts with an aim of increasing the impact of all the safety of journalists and stakeholders’ activities in the country.

Additionally, it will enable the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 16 and 17 aspirations, which seek to promote peaceful and inclusive societies.

The Deputy Minister stated that the dangers faced by journalists were exacerbated by unprofessionalism and ‘mercenary’ journalism.

Therefore, strategies must be devised to ensure that journalists could execute their responsibilities within a safe environment.
He called for a strong media landscape in improving the public’s understanding of current emerging issues, event priorities and policy pronouncements and options.

This will ensure a safe environment for journalists and media professionals to freely receive, and also produce and share information without facing any threats in any form.

The issue of impunity on journalists has assumed global proportion and is receiving concerted attention.

Mr. Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, Chairman of the NMC, encouraged journalists to speak for themselves and have some sense of dignity in their profession.

“Being a journalist is not a mean thing. We should not belittle ourselves and so must resort to the NMC when we are attacked,” he stated.

Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, UNESCO Representative to Ghana, said the Organization and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as the Community Court of Justice, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen the protection and freedom of expression, press freedom and safety of journalists in the sub-Region.

He called for a multi-stakeholder approach, involving all state actors at the global and country level, to comprehensively address the issue of the safety of the journalists.