Clamp down on vigilantism in Ghana – Ibn Chambas

Mr Manasseh Azure Awuni (right) receiving a dummy cheque from Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas

Mr Manasseh Azure Awuni (right) receiving a dummy cheque from Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas

The Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has called for a non-partisan approach in clamping down on political vigilantism in the country.

According to him, the growing phenomenon of vigilantism in Ghana’s political system was a threat to the country’s hard-earned peace and stability, thereby requiring that all political parties make the needed efforts to eliminate the menace.

“Two years ago, I voiced out my concerns about the emergence of political vigilantism in Ghana’s political space. Unfortunately, much was not done by the previous government to curb and regrettably, it is same today as the current government is doing little about this phenomenon. The current activities by one vigilante, Delta Force, which has become a law onto themselves is a concern. We hope that we look at political vigilantism on a non-partisan basis and that serious efforts are made towards eliminating it,”he stated.

Dr Ibn Chambas was speaking in Accra on Saturday at the 2018 West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA).

Organised by the Media Foundation of West Africa (MFWA), this year’s event was on the theme, “Impacting lives through media excellence.”

He urged the media on the continent, especially those within conflict prone areas, to support in preventing conflict and violent activities by exposing discriminations, marginalisations, abuses and assaults as well as crimes and other practices that undermine the peace and security of the region.

Whilst acknowledging the important role the media plays in building societies and serving as the crucial link between governments and the people, Dr Ibn Chambas said it could also become a “weapon for promoting hate” when used irresponsibly.

In this regard, he urged media practitioners to respect the ethics of the profession in line with national and international standards and uphold responsible journalism.

“The media wields huge influence in the development we seek. It is the crucial link between the people and those in government and further offers the platform for the sharing of views and opinions. At the same time, it can be the weapon for hatred. As professionals, let us pursue ethical standards in the practice and uphold responsible journalism. We should desist from propagating information that could result in violence and disrupt the peace we need for development” he stated.

As countries within the Sahel and West Africa region undertake electoral activities in the upcoming months, Dr Ibn Chambas urged the media to play constructive roles that would endure successful outcomes and non-violent activities for peaceful elections.

Mr Mannesseh Azure Awuni of MultiMedia Ghana Limited, won the 2018 best journalist of the year as well as the Anti-Corruption reporting category while Richard Kwadwo Nyarko and Seth Kwame Boateng, both also from MultiMedia Ghana Limited, won the Telecoms and ICT reporting and Health reporting categories respectively.

 

Mr Victor Ekwealor from Telepoint Nigeria was named the best in Business reporting category while Adam Algali from Africa Newspaper in Nigeria also took home the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reporting category.

 

Human Right reporting category went to Nabaloum Abdel Aziz from Burkina Fasoand Anthony Akaeze from TELL/ICIR in Nigeria won the investigating reporting category.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

 

 

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