Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) says it is unacceptable and affront to press freedom for the Ada Traditional Council to bar Radio Ada from covering the Asafotufiami festival.
The President of the Association, Mr Albert Kwabena Dwunfour said this when he addressed the media in Accra yesterday.
He said the Ada Traditional Council did not have the right or powers to impose such restrictions on Radio Ada and its staff.
“We consider the barring of the three reporters of Radio Ada from wearing the paraphernalia of the radio station and particularly the mention of their names, a threat to their lives and that of their family”.
“We should be mindful of how such public disclosure of names of journalists had led to the killing of such journalists and we should refrain from such actions. We believe one major significance of festivals is to use the occasion to foster peace, unity and oneness of purpose among the people to promote the development of the community,” he said
According to him, the Ada Traditional Council filed a complaint at the National Media Commission (NMC) against Radio Ada for professional misconduct and the used of “unrefined language” by the radio station
However, he said, the Council violated the rules on complaint settlement of the NMC per the imposition of restrictions on the radio station and its reporters, stating that, Section 13(2) of the National Media Commission Act, 1993 (Act 449) provides.
“A person who has lodged a complaint with the Commission shall, unless he withdraws the complaint, exhaust all avenues available for settling the issue by the Commission before a recourse to the courts”.
Mr Dwumfour said since the complaint by the Council was pending, and had not been withdrawn, therefore the Council violated the NMC rules of engagement for complaint settlement, by constituting itself into a traditional court to punish the radio station and its staff.
He called on the Ada Traditional Council not to take the law into its own hands but endeavour to use the due process of law to address its concerns and also refrain from actions that had the tendency to endanger the lives of the radio station and its staff.
Mr Dwumfour equally advised Radio Ada and its staff to refrain from using insulting or unacceptable language in the discharge of their duties by exhibit high professional standards at all times.
“We wish to encourage both the Ada Traditional Council and the management of Radio Ada to find amicable ways of resolving their differences. We urge them to consider each other as partners in development and work together to promote development in the area. The GJA is interested in seeing peace restored between the Ada Traditional Council and Radio Ada,” he said
He said the GJA had discussed the case of Ada Radio with the Ghana Police Service, who hadassured full protection for the staff of Radio Ada to enable them go about their normal duties.
He was optimistic that, calm would soon return to Ada so that development would also find space in the land through the vent provided by the media.
BY AGNES OPOKU SARPONG