The Ghana Journalists Association has launched the Journalist Support Fund with call for a concerted effort to address, mitigate and eventually end crimes against its members.
The occasion was also used to commemorate the International Day to end Impunity for Crime against Journalist, a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) to draw attention and to help bring an end to such acts.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief Justice, a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Yonny Kulendi said the media plays a critical role in the promotion of democracy, good governance, transparency, probity, accountability and ultimately, the development of every country.
According to Mr Kulendi, crimes against journalists had been on the rise across the world and regrettably tended to be more preponderant in this part of the world.
He said crimes, aggression, and violence against journalists and media practitioners was an offence against the society, the state, humanity and every democracy and freedom loving individual on the face of the planet.
“This is why there is the need for a concerted effort, such as this, among others, to address and hopefully substantially mitigate and eventually end such impunity,” he stated.
The Justice of the Supreme Court said impunity that was engulfing the state is a reflection of an insidious degeneration in values, ethics, discipline and increasing contempt for institutions, authority, due process and the rule of law.
That, he said, was a cultural deterioration, which was part of the structural causes of violence and impunity against the media and practitioners.
He, therefore, called on leadership of the GJA to consider initiatives that would promote a healthy dialogue on such matters and implored the citizenry, corporate Ghana and development partners to support the ‘Journalists Support Fund’ in order to achieve the purpose for which it is established.
The President of the GJA Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, said the fund would among others assist those who had been attacked, covering their medical and legal expenses.
He said journalists faced a lot of challenges in the course of their work which might result in physical or psychological or emotional harm.
Mr Dwumfour said the current support regime for members who suffered such fate was weak hence the need for the fund.
“The Journalists Support Fund will also help to offer training and workshops on safety and security for our members to enhance their security and safety,” the GJA president said, adding that the fund would be managed by a five-member trustee.
He mentioned that the GJA awards would be held on November 12 under the theme “Walking the path towards economic recovery: the role of the media.”
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU