At World Press Freedom Day celebration: Express opinion on matters fearlessly!! – Justice Adjei charges journalists

A justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei, has indicated that journalists have an obligation to fearlessly express their opinion on matters that promote development in the country. 

According to him, situations where media practitioners who expose wrong doings of some members of the public are intimidated by politicians must be condemned at all levels.

Speaking at an event to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day in Accra yesterday, he said freedom of speech played a vital role in promoting all human rights and drives the development of a country, while making it easy for individuals to hold governments accountable for their actions.

This year’s World Freedom Day is being celebrated on the theme: “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a driver for all human rights.

Justice Adjei said “Whenever freedom of expression is threatened, all other human rights are suppressed and that accounts for the reason for criminalisation of freedom of speech in some jurisdictions,” he added.

In a country where people’s rights were violated, the entire country, he said, would be stricken with fear and would require journalists and bold persons to expose the abuses and enlighten the citizenry of their fundamental human rights.

The president of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Albert Dwumfour, on his part assured that the GJA would continue to protect all media professionals in the country as they perform their duties with diligence.

He also warned politicians who had the tendency for abusing journalists to desist from such acts.

Mr Dwumfour noted that the GJA had also committed itself to promoting professional standards in the media and urged all journalists and media houses to uphold the highest level of integrity and professionalism.

Describing journalists as vanguards of free speech, the GJA president said it was important that media practitioners received all the support they required, to carry out their duties without hindrance or compromise.

“When freedom of speech is jealously guarded, there will be no fear or panic because people will go about their duties without looking over their shoulders. Let us come together as journalists to fight hard for a more liberated society,” he added.

However, Mr Dumfour stated that the GJA would not hesitate to call out any journalist or media organisation that indulges in flagrant violations of professional ethics and standards.

In a tribute to the late Ahmed Suale, he hoped that soon, perpetrators of the dastardly act on the slain investigative journalist would be brought to book.

On his part, UNESCO’s representative to Ghana, Mr Abdourahamanne Diallo, said his outfit, through the United Nations (UN), continued to support safety of journalists through capacity building, adding that it was important for Ghana to reaffirm its commitment to defending press freedom and protecting the rights of journalists and media workers in general.

A former president of the GJA, Mrs Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, speaking on the local theme for the World Freedom Day, “Freedom of Expression: A driver for all human rights for Ghana’s development”, indicated that freedom of speech on Ghana’s airwaves and numerous newspaper publications bore testimony to the fact that Ghana was making tangible progress in democratic governance.

Touching on the management of the economy, she underscored the need for the reflection on the mandate of parliament in holding the executive to account.

“My candid opinion is that parliament, while doing well in some areas of their mandate has not been able to effectively play its role as a countervailing force to the executive.”

“A stronger collaboration between parliament and the media would be a healthy way of keeping the Executive on its toes especially during elections,” she added.

Mrs Affenyi-Dadzie also believed that excessive politicisation of the media was a threat to the country’s democracy and therefore called for a stop to the practice.

She commended the Ghanaian media for its impactful contributions to the consolidation of Ghana as an open society through freedom of expression.


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