Friday 3rd May, 2013Printable Version
They also expressed their displeasure at the report which sought to exonerate the soldiers who perpetrated the act and noted that it is not too late to make amends but going the extra mile to see that the assaulted journalists are treated with fairness, justice and dignity.
The Day, which coincided with the swearing-in of the new executives of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), was on the theme: “Ensuring the safety of Journalists and Media Workers; Combating Impunity against Press Freedom.”
The new executives were sworn in by the Chairman of the National Media Commission, Mr Kabral Blay Amihere.
They are: Mr Affail Monney President, Mr Mathias Tibu, Vice President, Mr Dave Agbenu, General Secretary, Mrs Linda Asante Agyei, Treasurer, Mr Rockling Clottey, Organising Secretary and Ms Mary Mensah, Public Affairs.
Mr Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Information and Media Relation, commended the media for standing tall among their peers on the continent.
He described as unfortunate the attack on the two journalists and noted that the show of solidarity from Ghanaians was overwhelming, an indication of appreciation from the public.
He said the media should shift its focus on politics and governance and work towards a balance in the interest of Ghana’s development.
“All aspect of the Ghanaian economy deserves attention from the media,” he said and observed that press freedom should not only service the political but economic and social progress of the country.
He debunked speculations that the initiatives by government to ease the burden of private media institutions were a ploy to undermine them.
The Information Minister said government is working assiduously to have the right to information and the broadcasting bill passed.
He called on media owners to pay attention to conditions of service of their employees.
Mr Ayariga said that poor conditions of service could made media persons susceptible to corruption.
The UNESCO Senior Programme Specialist for Ghana, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Togo and Sierra Leone, Tirso Dos Santos said the 2013 World Press Freedom marked the 20th anniversary of the event.
He noted that worldwide journalists are being arrested and thrown into detention without trial.
He said about 600 journalists have been killed in the past 10 years and said the act of impunity must not go unpunished.
Mr Affail Monney, President of the GJA said the new executives assume office at a time of manifold challenges in Ghana and noted: “Ghana’s democracy is on a slippery ground and if media practitioners do not stand up to correct the ethical gaffes and kinks we shall regret.
“Democracy is cheap but expensive. We see cheapness in the newspapers stories we read and radio materials we hear and the television images we watch.
“In this critical stage of our history we must more than ever internalise ethical values and reflect on them in our output,” he added.
He also touched on the conditions of service of journalists and said the GJA would be unionised so that journalists would for the first time be legally empowered to negotiate better conditions of service.
He said the GJA acknowledged the positive strides in government media relations especially the media development fund and the recent distribution of laptops to journalists but added: “Indeed it is of strategic necessity on both sides to deepen this relationship while fulfilling our constitutional mandate to hold government accountable.”
“For the sake of emphasis, we shall not flinch from our roles as watch dogs; no amount of intimidation or beatings at public functions, God forbid, will make us scared dogs.”
Mrs Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie, past president of the GJA urged journalists to be courageous and strong, stand for what is right, unite and move the Association forward.
Representatives from the Editors Forum of Ghana, Private Newspapers Association of Ghana, and Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association among others in solidarity messages also condemned attacks on journalists and pledged their support to the GJA and the new executives.
Ms Ajoba Kyimah, corporate and Legal Affairs of the Accra Brewery Limited and Voltic Ghana Limited sponsors of the events congratulated the media and assured the GJA of their modest but unflinching support in their endeavour to be viable and reliable to promote sustainable press freedom and media accountability that enables the media to contribute to National Development