Safety of journalists should be considered sacred- President Akufo-Addo

Safety of journalists
President Akufo-Addo

By: Bright Ntramah

President Akufo-Addo says the safety of journalists should be considered sacred and all efforts must be made to make journalists feel safe to go about their work.

Describing the work of journalists as extremely important, the President noted that he prefers a “noisy press to a sycophantic one.

The courtesy call by the GJA was to introduce the newly elected Executives of the Association to the President. The visit coincided with the President’s meetings with some identifiable groups on the IMF negotiations and stability of the currency.

“The safety of journalists in Ghana has to be considered sacrosanct. Sacrosanct from members of the community, sacrosanct from agencies of the state and we must be a country where journalists have to feel safe to go about their work” President Akufo-Addo said.

Addressing the Executives of the Ghana Journalists Association at the Jubilee House, Nana Akufo-Addo said he does not condone any attack on journalists, not even on those who abuse him and urged journalists to be responsible in the discharge of their duties.

“I want to be very unequivocal about the safety of Journalists. I don’t condone attacks on any journalist, even those who abuse me, I do not condone any attacks on them. A noisy press, even a mischievous press, is better than a sycophantic press,” Akufo-Addo added

Akufo-Addo in his remarks, noted that “the whole concept of responsible journalism is extremely important for the welfare of our country”. He called on media practitioners not to accept what newsmakers and politicians tell them at face value, but to endeavor to dig deeper into claims and to better inform their listeners, viewers and readers.

“I think that beyond everything, what most people are sensitive about are the capacity of the media to generate its own information. That is the aspect of it that is responsible journalism.

“It is extremely important because too often, things that are said are taken at face value and, therefore, the population is denied any informed scrutiny of the claims that are been made and I think that that is a serious matter” the President noted.

The GJA delegation was led by it’s President Albert Kwabena Dwumfour. Other members are Vice President Linda Asante Agyei, General Secretary Kofi Yeboah, Public Affairs Officer Rebecca Ekpe, Organizing Secretary Dominic Hlordzi and Treasurer Audrey Dekalu.

Mr. Dwumfour raised concerns about the increasing rate of attacks against the media and journalists, which has contributed significantly to the worsening performance of Ghana’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index. He asked the President to add his voice to the condemnation of such attacks, to will help curb impunity. Mr. Dwumfour noted that, together with his colleague executives, they intend to work hard to curb or stop attacks on journalists in the country.

“In view of this, the GJA will launch the Journalist Support Fund (JSF) come November 2nd to also commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crime Against Journalists.

“This was a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly at its 68th session in 2013 to set aside November 2nd in memoriam of two French journalists who were assassinated in Mali in 2013” Dwumfour said.

“This initiative, named Journalist Support Fund, seeks to raise a minimum of Ghc2 million (Two Million Ghana Cedis) as seed capital to fight or address attacks on Journalists and to also support Journalists in this regard.

“The launch of the Fund on that date is meant to give a practical meaning to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crime against Journalists” he added.

The Executives of the Association used the visit to invite the President to be the Guest of Honour at the 26th GJA Media Awards scheduled for November 12, this year under the THEME: WALKING THE PATH TOWARDS GHANA’s ECONOMIC RECOVERY – THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA.

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