The Ashanti Regional Chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) condemns ìn no uncertain terms the damage of camera of, and assault on, two journalists of the GHOne Television Network at the Central Mosque in Kumasi, on Thursday, July 19, 2018.
While sympathising with the affected journalists, we are very much disgusted at the news that one of the victims was nearly burnt alive by the rampaging youth in protest against the killing by the police of seven suspected armed robbers at Manso Nkwanta.
It is ironic that, a day after the unfortunate assault on the journalists, the authorities of the zongo community held a press conference inviting the media to carry their message to the public that the deceased were not armed robbers but innocent citizens who lived decent lives, and therefore, there should be a thorough investigation to establish the truth in the matter.
This clearly shows the importance of the media and the role they play in national development, and the need for the public to show much respect to media practitioners in the Region and Ghana as a whole.
The public must be aware that but for the smart, persistent and courageous Journalists, many issues bothering the society in Ghana might not have been heard.
Turning raw data and information into easily digestible knowledge for public consumption, putting it into narrative form or making it clear through visual means, takes painstaking and creative work.
The Chapter is reminding the public that an assault on journalists in the country is not only a crime but also an attack on the country’s democracy and we expect the police to treat such offenses with the seriousness they deserve.
Unless we deal with such assault cases decisively, they will continue to be the norm of these attackers, and that would seriously undermine free speech, democracy and development.
The Chapter reminds journalists that the profession has its risks and dangers as shown by recent assaults on practitioners, not only by civilians but also by the law enforcement agents.
We recall the murder of the late Ennin, then Ashanti Regional Chairman of the GJA, who was killed in February 2007 and the case died with him.
GJA Ashanti urges all media practitioners to be always conscious of safety and security measures to minimize risk to their lives as they conduct their lawful professional duties.
We should not take things for granted: we should always be on the lookout. We should not only focus on getting the best shots and stories at the risk of our personal security.
A statement signed by GJA ASHANTI CHAIR.