ENDING IMPUNITY FOR CRIMES AGAINST JOURNALISTS

Ghana yesterday joined the world to celebrate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, albeit on a low key.
The day set aside by the United Nations (UN) at its 68th session in 2013, is in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on November 2, 2013.
The resolution adopted to celebrate the day, urged member states of the UN to implement definite measures countering the culture of impunity.
The landmark resolution condemned all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers around the world.
The UN member states were also urged to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring perpetrators to justice and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.
It also called upon member states to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.
The question however, is, are all member states adhering to the resolution they appended signatures to three years ago?
It is obvious that many countries around the world have not created the conditions for journalists to practise freely, without intimidation, harassment or being killed.
According to the UN, over the past decade, more than 800 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public.
And unfortunately, only one out of 10 cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to conviction.
This trend is worrying and likely to embolden the perpetrators of those crimes to continue to commit their atrocities against media workers.
Locally, intimidation, pressure and violence against journalists continue to take place in the country inspite of the guarantees set out in the 1992 constitution.
As we celebrate the day and at  the critical time that the country is gearing towards a general election, it is important for society to attach the highest priority to the safety of journalists and all media workers.
It is important for everyone to act in a manner that would not be intimidating, or an attack on journalists in the country.
Undoubtedly, free press and media pluralism are essentials to a free and open society. Any form of attack against the media and journalists are therefore attack on democracy.
In order to promote media freedom and protect our democracy, we must take positive steps to ensure the safety of media workers in the country.
We must also respond to violence against journalists by ensuring that both state and non-state perpetrators and instigators of violent acts against journalists are brought to justice.

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