“Be abreast with human rights laws-” Journalists urged

Anthony Apubeo, GodfredA.Polkuu, Patricia A. Yelmaan, GNA

Tamale, Oct 25, GNA – Mr Zakaria Tanko Musah,
a Legal Practitioner has admonished Journalists in the country to be abreast
with fundamental human rights laws to enable them to respond to and influence
fair adjudication of justice on human rights cases.

The lawyer, who is a lecturer at the Ghana
Institute of Journalism (GIJ) stated that the media was the mouth piece of the
voiceless, including the vulnerable in society and therefore needed to be
equipped with the basic principles of human rights laws to accurately and
effectively educate members of the public on their fundamental human rights.

Mr Musah made the call at a two-day capacity
building workshop organised for 20 selected Mid-Career Journalists from the
Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions by the African Centre for
International Law and Accountability (ACILA) in Tamale.

The programme was to equip the media
practitioners with the needed knowledge to appreciate both domestic and
international laws with regards to their application on the fundamental human
rights of the people.

The capacity building training was also aimed
at improving and upgrading journalists’ knowledge and skills on human rights
investigations and reportage that would enable them to impact on society.

The Legal Practitioner, who took participants
through Ghana’s obligations under domestic human rights laws, indicated that
the fundamental human rights and freedoms of every citizen including; the right
to life, security, dignity, justice, freedom of speech and movement,
association among others were enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and
it was mandatory that the fundamental rights were respected.

He said the rights of people particularly,
women, children, the poor and persons with disabilities were often violated and
the victims sometimes did not get fair justice delivery, and so the media’s
responsibility was to seek justice for these persons.

According to him, most journalists sometimes
showed ignorance at the interpretation of the provisions of the legal system
and could not challenge decisions from government, state institutions and
individuals on matters regarding legal interpretations.

The lecturer called on journalists to be more
determined to know the legal framework so as to improve on their reportage and
their work in general.

The lecturer called on the media to up their
drive to ensure that the Right To Information Bill was passed into law, by
educating the people to understand that the bill when passed into law would
help the journalists and benefit everybody as it was the fundamental human
right of every citizen to have easy access to information from state

“An enhanced awareness of and capacity to deal
with human rights issues among experienced media practitioners will be a step
in getting duty bearers to start taking these things seriously,” he added.

Mr William Nyarko, the Executive Director of
ACILA explained that Ghana had ratified and made declarations to a number of
international human rights laws to device policies that would ensure the
protection and promotion of the rights of every citizen without discrimination.

The Executive Director therefore explained
that it was the responsibility of the state through state institutions like the
Ghana Police Service, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
(CHRAJ), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and others to promote
and protect the rights of all persons including; women, children, as well as
Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, Intersexual people (LGBTI) without


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