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GJA to police: Your centralised approach to sharing information has been ineffective

Police communication from every corner of the country has been centralised in the nation's capital, Accra, a situation that makes it difficult for journalists and the public to get information

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has renewed its call on the police to reconsider the centralised approach to sharing information with the media.

Police communication from every corner of the country has been centralised in the nation’s capital Accra, a situation that makes it difficult for journalists and the public to get information.

Speaking at a workshop in Kumasi on Friday (9 February), president of the GJA, Albert Dwumfour described the approach as “ineffective” stating that the service, as a state institution, should be accountable to citizens.

“Information has been centralised which is making it very difficult for the media to be abreast with developments in the Ghana Police Service. And if you have centralised information, you expect that the media will not be aware of your developments. Your communication is ineffective, and it is really affecting our work”, Dwumfour stated.

Loud silence

Dwumfour also expressed frustration about the lack of progress in the investigation of the alleged assault on two journalists during the heat of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary primaries. He revealed that several petitions to the office of the Inspector General of Police on the matter have been ignored.

“The system has failed us. The system is not working. The police who are supposed to protect us are not doing enough. After all this process, we officially petitioned the IGP on the Hawa Koomson case. To date, the police have not acknowledged receipt of our letter.

“I have personally met with the IGP trying to get his attention on this matter and he always has to find a way out”, the GJA president stated as he justified the decision to blacklist media attackers in the country.

Recent attacks

At least nine journalists suffered attacks in Ghana between March and October last year, available data show.

“This is very unusual. This year, we are only in the second month, but we have recorded two meaning if we are recording two every month then we will have 24 and this will be bloody. And if we have all amplified our voices against attacks on journalists then I don’t think Ahmed Suale would have been dead by now”, Dwumfour stated.

Objective 

Dwumfour said the objective of the training was to offer professional development to online editors, producers, and talk show hosts to build their knowledge based on contributing to violent free media platforms.

He said it was also to encourage information sharing with election-related entities to better inform or work with the Electoral Commission with the view to promoting freedom of expression for violent free and credible news.

“GJA will also create a platform to share best practices of elections among others,” he said.

Stakes 

He said stakes in the next election would be very high given the incumbent NPP’s resolve to break the eight and the opposition’s desire to also come back to power.

Aside from that, he said the insecurity in the sub-region coupled with the economic challenges in the country “point to heightened and tensed atmosphere raising the need to ensure that journalist talk show hosts in their agenda-setting roles, maintain an atmosphere that encourages discussion on policy issues while promoting and protecting the space for peaceful discourse integral for a successful peaceful election in December 2024″.

Reporting by Jonathan Ofori, Asaase Newsroom, Kumasi

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