It’s time to let people face the law for abusing journalists – GJA President

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) says it may seek justice for two Multimedia Group journalists and a driver who were detained at the weekend on the instructions of the Mayor of Accra.

Mr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije ordered the arrest of the three who had on Saturday, gone to report on the plight of the people of Mensah Guinea, in Accra a day after their illegal structures were demolished by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly. The squatters were accused of breeding cholera in the capital through insanitary conditions.

However, MULTI TV’s driver, Felix Akunor was arrested on the spot while reporters; Joojo Cobbina and Festus Solomon escaped but were later charged with offensive conduct when they reported at the Ministries Police station in Accra.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show, Tuesday, the GJA President, Affail Monney said the Association will marshal its resources to defend members who are abused in the line of duty.

“We’ve sworn an oath and we will not flinch from acting …All these attacks reflect one inconvenient truth [which is impunity] and when impunity becomes pervasive it activates a self-propelling and re-energising cycle and becomes so difficult if not impossible to check,” Mr. Monney told Francis Abban, co-host of the show.

Asked if the GJA would consider a civil suit against the AMA and the Mayor for the arrest which lawyers say is unlawful, Mr. Monney said the leadership is weighing the options and will take action when necessary.

“There are so many options open to us…and those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law should be made to taste the biting edge of the law”.

Commending Police
Meanwhile, the GJA president has commended  the police in Kumasi for acting swiftly to prosecute Baffuor Gyan, brother of Black Stars’ Captain Asamoah Gyan and his manager, Samuel Anim Addo for allegedly assaulting a Daily Graphic correspondent, Daniel Kenu.

Mr. Kenu had gone to the Baba Yara Sports Stadium to pick up his accreditation ahead of the AFCON 2015 qualifier between Ghana and Uganda when the suspects allegedly instigated the attack on him.

The accused were said to have been angered by a question the journalist posed to Asamoah Gyan over the disappearance of his friend and hiplife artiste, Theophilus Tagoe also known as Castro after the two had gone holidaying at a beach in Ada months ago.

Commenting on the issue, Mr. Monney said although the GJA sometimes “holds discussions behind closed doors…and resolve [attacks on journalists] amicably,” the frequency with which the attacks occur is becoming a worry.   

“There is the need for all of us to join forces to take a resolute stand to nip these incessant attacks against journalists in the bud,” he added. Story by Ghana | | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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