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General News of Monday, 4 September 2017

Source: Prime News Ghana

Your attempt to stop anti-corruption journalism will not hold – MFWA to GJA

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The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has warned the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to tread cautiously in what it labels as efforts to undermine investigative and anti-corruption journalism in the country.

The MFWA stance is a response to a statement from the GJA cautioning the media to desist from destroying local entrepreneurs and local businesses in the name of investigative journalism.

“We (the media) should also be mindful of using the media to wage a smear campaign against individuals especially local businesses and personalities who have made a substantial contribution to the growth of the economy …,” the statement from GJA read.

The GJA’s call came in the wake of the Jospong Group’s denial of claims that it inflated the cost of a contract it had with the Mahama government to supply waste bins.

However, MFWA in a statement wondered what the motivation is in relation to the directive from the GJA, especially when it failed to reference “any specific recent or past instances that could warrant the unusual cautionary note.”

According to the MFWA, GJA released a statement without “pointing to any specific instances, examples or evidence in the past or present, of any acts of smear campaign by any investigative journalist(s) against any personalities or businesses, local or foreign.”

“Given the palpable absence of context and the lack of reference to any specific recent or past instances that could warrant the unusual cautionary note from the GJA, one is compelled to seek answers to the following consequential questions from the GJA: What is the basis of the release? What is the underlining reason for the release? Who has been tried and pronounced guilty in and by the media? Who is waging a smear campaign in the media and against which local businesses or personalities? What are the specific instances of unfair, unbalanced, fabricated reporting by an investigative journalist? Responses to the above questions by the leadership of the GJA will help clear any doubts about the agenda the leadership of the Association sought to set with the unusual statement,” the MFWA added.

The independent media monitor admonished journalists who “are committed to the true values of journalism to remain unwavering in their fight against corruption.”

The statement from the MFWA assured that “we remain committed to supporting the few honest, dedicated and selfless journalists who continue to risk their lives and work tirelessly to expose corrupt personalities and businesses who perpetrate fraud on the nation. Corrupt personalities and businesses must be exposed by the media and punished by the state whether they are Ghanaian or foreign.”

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