By Gifty Amofa/ Victoria Asante, GNA
Accra, Nov. 5, GNA - Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister for Information, has announced government’s plan to outdoor a Coordinated Mechanism to safeguard the safety of journalists in Ghana by the end of November.
He said government, through the Ministry and other relevant groups, has come together to interrogate and set out a draft response document, which is also termed as Coordinated Mechanism, for the safety of journalists.
The Minister said this in an address at the 2019 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on the theme: “End impunity for crimes against journalists in Ghana”.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said attacks on journalists had increased and required the attention through collaboration and support from all stakeholders, adding that, the draft would be implemented to help protect journalists in the course of their duties.
He said government, the National Media Commission (NMC), among other stakeholders were working together to fight attacks on journalists.
He noted that it was never justifiable to attack a journalist even if his work is mercenary or diabolical.
Also, a journalist, the Minister said if one understood the media’s role and the fact that practitioners may make mistakes, they can respect and defend their work without hindrance.
On the other hand, he called on media owners and managers not to lower the standards and professionalism by continually building the capacity of personnel to enhance their work irrespective of how technology was evolving.
He said it was important to deepen the atmosphere for media regulations, stating that there was no broadcasting law yet, and that the bill would be laid before Parliament in January 2020.
He invited stakeholders to their inputs before it was passed into law.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah asked practitioners to work hard to win the trust of members of the public to support them in the fight against impunity.
Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, Chairman of the NMC, who was not happy at the attendance for the celebration, urged journalists to speak for themselves as nobody, would.
He said most journalists were not interested in issues that concerned them but only fought for others, and charged them to unite and fight in order to get support from others.
The Chairman advised journalists not to allow any impunity against them to go un-investigated and unpunished but report and be prepared to help in the process of investigations for the rule of law to prevail.
He said Parliament would be obliged to act only when cases were reported and presented to it.
Mr Roland Affail Monney, President of the Ghana Journalists Association, said about 1,000 journalists worldwide had been killed in the past 12 years for bringing information to the public.
He said only 10 percent of reported cases against journalists were investigated and perpetrators punished, stating that such impunities lead to more killings.
Mr Monney said impunity against journalists in Ghana had led to its slip from 23rd to 27th in the world position as the media freedom state and called on government to make the law bite hard at perpetrators to stop impunity.
There were solidarity messages from senior journalists, UNESCO, Media Foundation for West Africa, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and others.
They called on government to ensure justice for the family of Ahmed Husseine Suale, who was killed for exposing the ills in the society.