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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Irresponsible Silence


Last week, a photographer of the Daily Guide was subjected to an unnecessary brutality while performing his legitimate duties at the Cocoa

Affairs Court.

While many organizations have showed concern about what happened to the young man and indeed media practice in the country, the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) has not, ironically.

The Media Foundation For West Africa has for instance called to find out more about what really happened.

The nasty development has been chronicled as one of the infractions to be suffered by media practitioners this year in the country.

In a world driven by technology and ICT, the story has hit various sites across the globe, constituting thereby blight on our democratic practice.

We are appalled however that in spite of the seriousness of that threat to media practice, the GJA has remained mum. It is as if nothing happened.

Regardless to its busy schedule, if that is the true situation, it is our position that such affront to the practice of journalism in the country warrants an immediate response from the GJA, to which our professionals all belong.

If this is not the shirking of responsibility on the part of the GJA, we do not know what is. Our confidence in the ability and interest of the GJA to defend the interests of practitioners is beginning to wane and justifiably.

The foregone should not be the case at all, given that the GJA is the recognized body representing the interests of journalists in the country.

If the GJA must be regarded as serious in undertaking its role of protecting the interests of journalists, it would have to take another look at its performance.

We are amazed though that a few hours after an editor of an Accra-based newspaper mis-conducted himself, the association fired its dismay in a news release and even proposed sanctions against the journalist.

How we wish such swiftness can be applied to other equally-serious infractions. We do not appear to expect any such reaction to the plight of our man, given the number of days which have elapsed so far.

The apparent indifference is, for us, a decision by the association that what befell our photographer, and therefore the Daily Guide, is nothing but a flimsy issue unworthy of the body’s intervention.

It is interesting to note that even non-media personnel have expressed dismay at the loud silence on the part of the GJA and even painfully gone ahead to describe it as an act of irresponsibility.

Their concern is rooted in their understanding of the correlation between good governance and unfettered journalism practice.

A practice in which photographers can be assaulted at will by warders and detained in the same cells as convicts in transit to Nsawam Prison, as the GJA turns a blind eye to the infractions, cannot be said to be normal.

If such misdeeds are not stemmed through concerted efforts, especially with the active involvement of the GJA, democracy would be under threat.

What happened to Daily Guide yesterday could be extended to another media house tomorrow. It is for this reason that we are raising a red flag over the indifference on the part of the GJA.

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