The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has given its full backing to the decision by the state to prosecute Baffour Gyan, elder brother of Asamoah Gyan, captain of the national football team – the Black
Stars – for the alleged assault of Daniel Kenu, the Ashanti Regional Correspondent of the Daily Graphic.
Also standing trial is Samuel Anim Addo, Manager of the Asamoah Gyan Foundation, who is alleged to have also taken part in the
beating of the journalist when he (Kenu) had visited the Baba Yara Sports Stadium last Friday to process his accreditation for the Ghana/Uganda AFCON qualifier.
The Daily Graphic staff was attacked for asking Asamoah Gyan a question at a press soiree to the effect that there were rumours that he (Asamoah Gyan) had ‘sacrificed’ his missing friend and Hiplife artiste, Theophilus Tagoe, aka Castro, to rise to fame.
The accused persons have been arraigned before a Circuit Court at KMA in Kumasi, for allegedly leading stoutly-built people, known as
‘machomen,’ to assault Mr. Kenu.
The two accused persons have pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault, although their lawyers, Augustus Anane Kweiba and Oheneba
Kuffuor, had told the court, presided over by William Boampong, about their intention to seek an outof- court settlement with the Graphic journalist.
However, the GJA in statement issued by its president, Affail Monney, said the association was optimistic that the trial of the two persons ‘will serve as a deterrent to those who take the law into their hands, by assaulting journalists and other media personnel in their line of duty, whenever they are angry with them.’
The GJA intimated that the trial is also a reminder that no one should consider himself or herself above the law in a democracy.
Mr. Monney noted that even when journalists err in their work and their infractions are considered intolerable, there can be no justification for anyone to either physically or verbally attack them, pointing out that there are avenues for seeking redress.
These avenues, the GJA noted include the right to rejoinder, complaints to the National Media Commission/ GJA, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and the Private Newspapers Publishers Association of Ghana or choose to go to the law courts to seek redress.
While commending the Kumasi police, particularly the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kofi Boakye, for acting swiftly by investigating the matter and ensuring that Baffour Gyan and the others who allegedly assaulted Mr. Kenu were brought to stand trial, the GJA president contended that physical assaults and other uncivilized behaviours violate the civil and human rights of journalists.
Mr. Monney stated that such attacks also have the potential to undermine the role of the media in upholding the people’s right to know,
which contributes to empowering them to make informed decisions and choices in a democracy.
NMC Condemns Attacks
Earlier, the National Media Commission (NMC) has expressed concern about the increasing incidents of physical attacks and harassment of journalists in the country as they go about their duty to inform and educate the public.
The Commission, in a statement signed by Ambassador Kabral Blay- Amihere, Chairman of the Commission, was emphatic that ‘such assaults and similar unwarranted attacks on media professionals and other people working for media organizations constitute a threat to press freedom, and an affront to Ghana’s Constitution and ordinary decencies in our society and nation
BY Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson
Email: [email protected]
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