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Safety of Ghanaian Journalists must be sacrosanct says President Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo, said the work of journalists is extremely important and vital for the nation and their safety must be guaranteed

President Akufo-Addo has stated that the safety of journalists in Ghana must be sacrosanct and that he will not under any circumstance, condone attacks on any media practitioner in the country including those who abuse him.

According to the President, the safety of journalists he is talking about includes safety from ordinary members of society and from those in positions of power and influence.

Safety of Journalists

Addressing member of the executive body of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) when they paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House, today 26 October 2022, President Akufo-Addo, said the work of journalists is extremely important and vital for the nation and their safety must be guaranteed.

President Akufo-Addo addressing the executives of the GJA at the Jubilee House

“The safety of journalists in Ghana has to be considered sacrosanct. Sacrosanct from members of the community, sacrosanct from agencies of the state and we must be a country where journalists have to feel safe to go about their work” President Akufo-Addo said.

“I want to be very unequivocal about the safety of Journalists. I don’t condone attacks on any journalist, even those who abuse me, I do not condone any attacks on them. A noisy press, even a mischievous press, is better than a sycophantic press” Akufo-Addo added.

Press freedom

The president in his remarks expressed surprise “to hear that there is a devaluation of press freedom in Ghana. He intimated that looking at the level of media plurality in Ghana, the country’s press freedom score should be impeccable.

“When you look at the diversity of our press, when you look at its proliferation all over the country, I don’t know if there are so many countries on the continent that has such widespread independent media outlets as Ghana” the President said.

Verifying claims

Akufo-Addo in his remarks noted that “the whole concept of responsible journalism is extremely important for the welfare of our country”. He called on media practitioners not to accept what news makers and politicians tell them on face value, but to endevour to dig deeper into claims and to better inform their listeners, viewers and readers.

“I think that beyond everything, what most people are sensitive about are the capacity of the media to generate its own information. That is the aspect of it that is responsible journalism.

“You hear things from state actors, you hear things from private actors and you are in the position to independently verify the truth or otherwise of what is being said.

“It is extremely important because too often, things that are said are taken at face value and therefore the population is denied any informed scrutiny of the claims that are been made and I think that that is a serious matter” the President noted.

President Akufo-Addo in a group picture with GJA executives

Stopping attacks

President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, in his remarks noted that together with his colleague executives, they intend to work hard to curb or stop attacks on journalists in the country.

“In view of this, the GJA will launch the Journalist Support Fund (JSF) come November 2nd to also commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crime Against Journalists.

“This was a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly at its 68th session in 2013 to set aside November 2nd in memoriam of two French Journalists who were assassinated in Mali in 2013” Dwumfour said.

“This initiative named Journalist Support Fund, seeks to raise a minimum of Ghc2 million (Two Million Ghana Cedis) as seed capital to fight or address attacks on Journalists and to also support Journalists in this regard.

“The Launch of the Fund on that date is meant to give a practical meaning to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crime against Journalists” he added.

Presidential address

As the watchdogs of the people’s right, the GJA President noted that the Association “share in the frustration and plights of the citizens” with regard to the economic situation in the country.

“We are calling on the President to speak to the nation on the economic crisis and tell Ghanaians what government is doing to turn the situation around. You can count on our full support in the recovery process” the GJA President said

President Akufo-Addo, in response to this requested noted that he welcomes the call and that he will be addressing the country soon on his government’s interventions designed to support the citizenry in light of the prevailing economic challenges.

Media encounters

The GJA in their submissions also observed that “there is the need to revive the President’s “Media Encounter” series to enable your excellency share thoughts on pertinent national issues with the media and to also enable the media express their concerns about the operations of the government”.

President Akufo-Addo, welcomed this suggestion among others by the GJA and pledged that his administration will give all the suggestions the needed attention.

Identifiable bodies

President Akufo-Addo meanwhile, has called on the leaders of several other identifiable groups to as a matter of priority, advance their support to his administration as it takes policy decisions to revive the economy after the hit it has taken from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing geo-political war between Russia and Ukraine.

Amongst the groups the President held meetings with are; Forex Bureau Association of Ghana, Forex Bureau, Market Women, Ghana Employers Association, Private Enterprise Federation, and the leaders of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

In his interaction with the identifiable bodies, the President briefed them on the state of negotiations between his government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the implications of a possible programme with the fund on the country’s economy in the coming weeks and in the long term.

Wilberforce Asare

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