Editors Forum Condemn Assault On Journalists


 Ajoa Yeboah-Afari
The rampant assault on journalists in the country has incurred the wrath of the Editors Forum, Ghana (EFG).

‘The Editors Forum, Ghana (EFG) would like to place on record its deep dismay and concern over the incidents of assaults and other forms of intimidation of journalists and other media personnel in recent times,’ Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, Chairperson of the forum said in a statement.

In recent times, the country has witnessed unprecedented attacks on journalists and this has been condemned by all media-loving people.

Records at the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a media rights advocate, show there were more than 10 incidents of attacks on journalists, media workers and about four media houses between January and September this year alone. The records also show that the main perpetrators have mostly been state actors.

The forum expressed concern about the spate of attacks and urged the authorities to stem the tide.

‘The media exists to serve society and, therefore, even when media practitioners err in trying to serve the public interest, brutalising them is reprehensible and not the way to seek redress or prevent them from telling the story. It is equally outrageous to seize or destroy their equipment,’ the Chairperson said.

The statement said ‘journalists are only the society’s messengers and there is no justification for killing the messenger, no matter how unpalatable the message. Indeed, physical attacks on media practitioners are counter-productive because they only serve to put the spotlight on the perpetrators, their institutions or whatever it is they wish to prevent from being publicised.’

The forum urged journalists to also be circumspect in their reportage, saying, ‘nevertheless, even as we condemn the attacks, the EFG also cautions media colleagues to make professionalism and fairness central to their work to avoid generating bad blood.’

‘We remind colleagues that news is usually something that somebody doesn’t want to be made public, hence the need for objectivity at all times.’

‘The EFG respectfully advises members of the public who may have grievances against any journalist or media house to feel free to complain to the management of that media house, the Ghana Journalists Association or the National Media Commission,’ adding ‘an assault on a journalist going about his or her news-gathering duties is an assault on all other practitioners as well as an attack on freedom of expression, which underpins democracy.’

The statement said that ‘as has been proven time and again, the media you assault today may be the institution whose assistance you may need to tell your story tomorrow.’

 
 

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