By Jessica Ahedor
The Ghana Journalists Association GJA has mapped up ways to put pressure on government and the security apparatus in Ghana to demand justice for its slain journalist Ahmed Hussein- Suale and also to stop impunity against journalists.
The Ghana journalists Association is the umbrella body for journalists in Ghana. As part of the activities to demand justice for its slain journalists, the Association has directed all media houses to observe a minute silence on daily basis in the electronic media and with blank pages in the prints media with the hastag journalismisnotaclime.
On Friday 8th February 2019 funeral service in the memory of the victim will be held at the forecourt of the international press center, preceded by Black Wednesday where all journalists are to be in black attires to solidarise with their departed comrade.
There will also be a march for justice in March 18 after which a petition will be served to the president and security apparatus of the country for justice to be served.
Delivering his speech at the one day security seminar for journalists aimed at equipping practitioners to safeguard themselves in a wake of any form of violence, the president of GJA Dr Roland Affail Monney stated that Ghana’s face is beaming with tears and shame and not the joy that has been seen with it a year ago due to the numerous challenges the profession is fronted with. This era, he maintained is compelling to well equip journalists with security tips and garget since the practitioners are now under avalanche of threat from all fronts. He added the pride of the country has been broken to an extent that, the GJA is forced to explore other avenue to protect and fight for the safety of its members.
On his part, the Country Director of Amnesty International Ghana Mr Robert Akoto Amoafo has called for stakeholder engagements to develop strategies to protect sanctity and freedom for journalists. He added in a wake of abuses and killing of a journalist there is no better time to have such important discussions than now. Journalists like other human rights advocates, stand in a volatile place when it comes to their human rights. It is imperative that in the discharge of their duties, they step on ‘big toes’, expose rot, identify people who have power and that eventually poses a threat but impunity against journalists is unacceptable.
The first responsibility of every government is to safeguard the rights of its citizens. As such any government that fails to do so, has failed its democratic duty. Mr Akoto Amoafo has however called on the Ghanaian government to translate the standard setting framework of the UN plan of Action on the safety of journalists and the issues of impunity into National law, policies and practices.
The security analyst Mr. Emmanuel Sowatey who was tackling the phases and faces of media: the bad the good and the ugly, says the media in trying to and understand, expose, dig or comprehend security issues poses some sort of danger to them since the security sector doesn’t see the media as acquaintances who must work for the betterment of the country.
The research fellow at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center Dr Festus Kofi Aubynn in throwing more light on the surviving hazards while doing ones job explains, it is incumbent on individual journalists to equip themselves with security tips, get abreast with emergency code know where they are more vulnerable. Amidst these threats, he called on media owners to provide security for the employees, by constantly training and interacting with the security, provide emergency technological apps that can be used in any instance of emergency.
He also tasked the GJA to collaborate with the National Commission for Civic Education NCCE for public education on the works of journalists in the country. He also charged journalists to be aware of their environment and reporting suspicion. He added the issue at hand demands a multifaceted approach that involves practitioners, owners, civil society and the government.
In climaxing the day’s event the Executive Director of the National Media Commission, Mr Ken Ashuigbey opined that until journalists begins to speak for them and demand for justice brutality against them will continue. He charges all media practitioners to deal with the issues of brutalities by fighting for their freedom and justice for all. However over the past years Ghana has recorded about 62 brutalities against journalists with the zenith of killing one.