General News of Friday, 26 October 2018
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 mouthpiece 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 institutions.
“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 intimidation.