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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Columnist: Amissah, Kofi Isaac

Afia Pokua and other journalists to be reticent?

The beatings of Afia Pokua (aka 'Vim Lady'), Shadrack Kofi Assan and Samuel Nana Sefa of Adom FM by some officials of Ablekuma District National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) on Thursday, September 11, 2014 was unacceptable, appalling, and barbaric. Just as one would have thought the Kumasi beatings saga of Daily Graphic's Daniel Kenu by Baffour Gyan, elder brother of Black Stars' captain, Asamoah Gyan would not happen again, that was not to be. For how long would this shameful act continue without punishing the accused? Are we serious as a nation?

The interest and development of Ghana should be the priority of every Ghanaian and until we respect the various institutions to work meaningfully, our marching forward could be a nine-day-wonder. Fruitless. But is that what we are working towards to accomplish? No, I don't think thus. No one should resort to any political gimmicky or ruse to this important, yet too dicey issue because journalists have been beaten during the watchful eye of all Ghanaian governments. This has nothing to do with either NDC or NPP. It's some few swollen headed and a few rich in our polarized society who think by virtue of their positions or pilfered wealth, they are not ready to be questioned by any journalists. To wit, they strongly abhor the truth of God. But I can tell assure them that if they don't put an end to their personal aggrandizement whims, time would soon run against them and I would not be astonished to see God torching the heart of a god judge to throw these arrogant enemies of journalists into prison.

Ghana cannot develop or function properly without our journalists. Having been dubbed the forth arm or branch of Ghana realms, they are as equally important as the executive, legislature, and judicial arms of government. Their duties help society to learn from the happenings of our communities and international communities and as such, we cannot frown on their informative, educative, and entertaining skills. Through our journalists, we smile, laugh and acquire several knowledge that could have been hidden from us. Casting the news bulletin or bringing us important political information does not just come out of the blue, rather it comes as a result of the proactive and dynamic hardworking strategies of the Ghanaian journalists who have nothing to boost their morals and absolutely nothing to boast about. They ought to be offered commendations, not beatings and condemnations.

Freedom and independence of the media are all clearly enshrined and depicted in the 1992 Constitution thus it is perturbing seeing such atrocious brutalities unleashed to our noble journalists in Ghana. Upholding and respecting what's written in chapter 012 and page 162 of our constitution is to appeal to National Medial Commission (NMC) and all the various stakeholders vis-a-vis owners of radio/television stations and the print media to refrain from the usual "out of court settlement" that dwindles the tempo of cases involving journalists who are maltreated one way or the other. Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and Ghana Media Commission must allow our laws and institutions to work prudently. Help protect the safety of your employees!

Ghana is a democratic nation and thus no one should invite the antiquated 'culture of silence' that bedeviled our society and retrogressed the development of Ghana some years ago back into the current steadiness scene of Ghana. It is not mandatory for anybody to answer a question posed by any journalist and I think it would be far better for our 'big men' to take their 'fifth amendment right' than spewing replies that lead to antagonism, temperamental, volatile, and inflammatory.

Though it's very dejected, I am optimistic, thrilled and elated to say this would make Afia Pokua more stronger, affable, vociferous and clamorous than to make her mute her passions. No one can silence her.

No matter how you may undermine this case, I can strongly say that this case has dented the image of Ghana. Not only have Ghanaians living abroad become mad against these beatings of journalists, the international communities have also seen and read about this dejected beatings. And to prevent or avert this anomaly, the earlier our leaders begin prosecuting all accused persons who beat up journalists and make them serve time, if they are found guilty, people would continue beating our hardworking journalists but would always have a field day.

At this juncture, I am humbly appealing to the hierarchy of the ruling government to compel Mr. Israel Laryea and his employees who did the undone to proceed on leave firmly to pave way for effective investigations.

Love journalists! Love your nation.
Isaac Amissah, New York.