President of Ghana Journalists Association GJA  Dr Affail Monney

Journalism in Ghana under threat as power play reigns over safety of journalists.

By Ahedor Jessica

President of Ghana Journalists Association GJA Dr Affail Monney
President of Ghana Journalists Association GJA Dr Affail Monney

Ghana is at the verge of losing its position on the UNESCO rader that puts the country 1st in Africa for media freedom due to recent happenings in the media fraternity with regards to safety of journalists.

There are fears Ghana might lose its success chalked in media freedom due to the upsurge of violence against journalists. The situation in Ghana is becoming more like a power play as those buried in corrupt activities continue to gain some level of authority over even the state actors and if not checked could lead to chaos. These were the assertions of the president of Ghana Journalists Association GJA  Dr Affail Monney after condemning the act and demand the president act swiftly to avert any impending danger on the lives of journalists. He lamented how the country that taut itself to be democratically stable could be experiencing these bottlenecks when journalists are doing their jobs.

Barely a year, after UNESCO adjudged Ghana first in Africa for media freedom at the  25th World Press Freedom Day celebrated in the capital Accra in 2018, it is likely the country might lose that position due to insurgents of violence against journalist. As a country that boast of and have enjoyed 25 years of democratic rule and constitutional provisions and  rights of freedom of expression of the media recently begun throwing away all the milestones chalked over the years for corruption and power play. Beating journalists in line of Thierry duties and even killing them. The situation has resulted into killing of the undercover journalist Ahmed Hussein -Suale who exposed the corrupt activities in the football fraternity of the country. There are fears the state actors are sitting aloof  while corrupt officials use their influence to destroy at the same time have their ways.

Earlier today the Minority in Parliament has demanded Assin Central MP Kennedy Agyapong who is at the centre of all the controversies surrounding the murder of Ahmed be arrested and made to face the law for instigating the murder of  Ahmed Hussein-Suale, an undercover investigative journalist with Tiger Eye P.I.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, The Former Deputy Interior Minister and MP for Builsa North James Agalga  has called on the law enforcement agencies to promptly cause Mr. Agyapong’s arrest and prosecute him for his actions.”

The Minority arrived on this conclusion following their interpretation of section 20(1) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

As they  quoted, “a person who, directly or indirectly, instigate, commands, counsel, procures, solicit, or in any manner purposely aids, facilitates, encourages, or promotes, whether by a personal act or presence or otherwise, and a person who does an act for the purposes of aiding, facilitating, encouraging, or promoting the commission of criminal offence by any other person, whether known or unknown, certain, or uncertain, commits the criminal offence of abetting that criminal offence, and of abetting the other person in respect of that criminal offence.”

The Minority is of the view  that “…Mr. Agyapong appears to bear some criminal responsibility for the death of Ahmed, and he also bears criminal responsibility for instigating the public to beat up Ahmed and cause harm to Mr. Anas for monetary reward.”

Mr. Agyapong appears to have abetted several offences ranging from assault, causing harm, causing harm with the use of an offensive weapon, attempted murder and murder by instigating the public by reaching out to the public to visit the indicated violence on them. And by the operation of the law, the offence of abetting a crime through instigating violence is committed even if no member of the public lifts a finger in furtherance of the invitation.”

Recalling the actions of the Assin Central Member of Parliament, which has led them to these conclusions they state: “We recall that upon the advertisement by Tiger Eye P.I. of the airing of the documentary entitled – “Number 12 – When Greed and Corruption Become the Norm” – the NPP Member of Parliament for Assin Central Constituency, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, commenced a tirade against Mr. Anas in particular and his Tiger Eye P.I. team members. Mr. Agyapong vowed to destroy Mr. Anas and his team if they dared to air the documentary. Mr. Anas called off Mr. Agyapong’s bluff and proceeded to air the documentary in various locations in Ghana and on local and international media.

Mr. Agyapong then went further and splashed pictures purporting to be the image of Anas on Net 2 TV (which he owns) and on the Internet. He also invited the general public to cause harm to Mr. Anas for monetary compensation.

Further, Mr. Agyapong released pictures known to be the image and likeness of Ahmed in like manner and incited the public to visit violence on Ahmed for monetary reward. Indeed, Mr. Agyapong declared that he was prepared to pay any member of the public who would beat up Ahmed. Mr. Agyapong then proceeded to indicate the location of Ahmed’s residence.”

At the backdrop of  these claims,the minority has chastised the security agencies for their failure to take action on the said MP and allowed him to leave the jurisdiction. The statement points out, “Shockingly, Mr. Agyapong was allowed to fly out of the country, without being apprehended, on that very day on an Emirates flight headed to Dubai and possible onward journey.”

The conduct of Mr. Agyapong could not have escaped the notice of law enforcement agencies and the government of President Akufo-Addo. And till date, he has not been invited by the Police for questioning. We find this situation deeply worrying and uncharacteristic of a democratic and civilised country.

“Mr. Agyapong’s conduct, and the obvious lack of action by the law enforcement agencies leads to only one conclusion – that Mr. Agyapong is above the laws of Ghana and he enjoys impunity free from prosecution.”

The statement also “called on Nana Akufo-Addo’s government to condemn the conduct of Mr. Agyapong.”

Following these happenings the Executive Director for West Africa Network for peace Building WANEP Dr Chukuemeka Eze believes state actors must be up and doing to prevent citizens from getting fed up and taking the law into their own hands. He opined that the countries fabric could be marked if government did not put his foot down to check anything that could trigger chaos. He cautioned journalists to be extra vigilant in their dealings.

 

 

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