General News of Thursday, 27 December 2018
The Volta Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has urged media practitioners covering the Oti referendum to be circumspect in their reportage and should not be intimidated.
In a statement reacting to a security alert that indigenes in the area were planning to attack people who were not known to them, following which the police has asked media men not to move but be confined in the main election centre, the GJA said a curfew cannot be placed on the activities of journalists.
The police on Thursday said they have picked intelligence suggesting that the opponents of the region have planned to disrupt the referendum.
The police, therefore, urged the journalists within the Oti area to be extra vigilant in carrying out their duties.
The GJA’s press statement, signed and issued by the Volta Regional Chairman, Kafui Kanyi said a group of people cannot place a “curfew” on activities of journalists in the area.
It said the alleged threats from the Joint Consultative Committee and the locals were an act of intimidation and a means to muscle out the media from playing its watchdog role mandated by the 1992 Constitution.
“It is our advice that tendencies that could set bad precedents be avoided as we approach the 2020 general elections. A group of people cannot place a “curfew” on media coverage of public elections or determine how the exercise is covered”.
The GJA however urged media practitioners covering the referendum to be highly professional, conscious of their safety but not be intimidated.
Below is a copy of the full statement
OTI REFERENDUM AND MEDIA CURFEW
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)-Volta has taken notice of directives from the Regional Police Command restricting media coverage of the Oti referendum to the collation centre at Jasikan.
The Police’s argument of picking intelligence that the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) on the creation of Oti Region and the locals were uncomfortable with unknown faces, including the media observing and covering the polls and could attack them, is welcome.
GJA-Volta however finds the development unfortunate in view of Ghana being an icon of democratic growth and development, following the referendum that ushered in the Fourth Republic.
The country is also noted to have undertaken a number of major national elections and survived predictions of threats and violence unscathed.
We, therefore see the alleged threats from the JCC and the locals, detractive, an act of intimidation and a means to muscle out the media from playing its watchdog role mandated by the 1992 Constitution.
It is our advice that tendencies that could set bad precedents be avoided as we approach the 2020 general elections-A group of people cannot place a “curfew” on media coverage of public elections or determine how the exercise is covered.
By this statement, the Association urges media practitioners covering the Oti referendum to be highly professional, conscious of their safety but not be intimidated.
God bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.
A.B Kafui Kanyi