Be cautious in dealing with assaults on journalists – Affail Monney

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Roland AffailMonney, has urged the government to be critical and cautious in dealing with assault on journalists.

According to him, the use of judicial power to punish journalists had the tendency of negatively impacting on media freedom, hence, the need for the government to be critical and cautious.

Mr Monney made the call on the sidelines during the celebration of the World Radio Day in Accra on Monday organised by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in partnership with GJA and the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

“The growing use of prosecutorial and judicial power to punish them (journalists) can also exert a significant chill in press freedom and erode the robust foothold of our free media system which is reference point and standard measure for Africa,” he said.

The GJA President in furtherance advocated the use of civil remedies which are procedures and sanctions, specified by civil statues and regulations used to reduce or prevent criminal problems or incivilities, in dealing with media infractions.

Meanwhile, he also bemoaned the lack of unprofessionalism and unethical standards that had characterised the media space in recent times, adding that “in some instances, radio has become the theatre for fetishistic pursuit of agendas far remote from journalism.”

This, he said, was diminishing the trust that the public had in radio and the media space at large.

Mr Mooney, therefore, cautioned journalists to adhere to the ethical principles of the profession in order to restore the lost trust the public had in them.

“It is the responsibility of practitioners themselves to do their work with critical sensibility and utmost responsibility,” he said.

He further pleaded with authorities to conduct independent and transparent investigations of all reported attacks on journalists in order to ensure that justice was served.

His call comes after the recent assault, arrest, detention and the jailing of journalists in the country over the past weeks.

Notable of these incidents was the arrest of Blessed Godsbrain Smart popularly known as Captain Smart, host of Onua Morning Show on TV3 who was charged with “extortion and abetment to extort.”

Others wereOhenebaBoamah Bennie of Power FM who was jailed for 14 days and fined GH₵3,000 for contempt of court, and Eric Nana Gyetuah from Connect FM who was assaulted by the police.

The latest is the arrest, detention and charge to Bobbie Ansah of Accra FM with the publication of false news and offensive conduct. He has since been granted a bail of GH₵50,000. 

BY ANITA ANKRAH

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