The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Private Newspaper Printers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) and Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) have waded into the recent spate brutalities meted out to the journalists by the National Security personnel in the country.
Fuming with anger, the three media associations in a joint statement copied to DAILY Analyst stated that they have taken note of the spate of brutalities being meted out to journalists such as those working with Luv FM, Whatsapp News and the most recent case of the one involving journalists working with Citi FM/Citi TV.
The statement which was signed and issued by the Presidents of the three media groups in the persons of Mr Andrew Danso-Aninkora of GIBA,
Andrew Edwin Arthur, ESQ of PRINPAG and Mr Rolnald Affail Monney
of GJA said media is an indispensable partner in the development of the country as well as the consolidation of democracy while holding government to account.
The statement pointed out that any attempt to cower them to stay away from carrying out these duties, should be condemned in no uncertain terms.
“We are of the view that, the time has come for the government to restructure the Ministry of National Security, re-orient the minds of these operatives, and to institute professional recruitment policies to ensure that the Ministry recruits the right calibre of professionals who will be entrusted with the intelligence mandate of the Ministry,” the statement noted.
The statement asserted that the
GIBA, PRINPAG and the GJA do not intend to prejudge the outcomes of any findings from any inquest to be instituted into the molestation of the Citi FM/Citi TV journalists by national security operatives.
“We believe in and support the work of investigative journalists in Ghana in highlighting matters of public interest.
” We draw attention to the impunity with which security personnel in Ghana attack media practitioners in the course of exercising their legitimate duties and condemn in no uncertain terms, the approach of the National Security operatives in the unwarranted use of force and intimidatory tactics against the Citi FM journalists even if the actions of the journalist in question, raises concerns for the security services,” the statement noted.
The statement expartiated that the continuous invasion of media houses by national security operatives must stop.
In the statement, the three media associations condemned the seizure and deletion of journalistic and any other material on any recording device without court orders.
The statement demanded an immediate and unqualified apology from the National Security Secretariat to the Management and staff of Citi FM/TV and to the entire media for the havoc, panic and trauma caused them.
It recommended an independent inquiry to establish and recommend punishment for anybody found culpable in this incident.
“GIBA, PRINPAG and the GJA, and indeed, the entire media in Ghana are ready to partner with the security agencies to advance the course of the country and its development.
“But for this collaboration to be effective, it is important for the security agencies to be oriented on the intricacies in the practice of the journalism profession, one of which is to employ in some cases, subterfuge and unorthodox means of gathering information, if same is in the supreme national interest,” the statement said.
For this collaboration to be effective in the national interest, the statement
expected members of the two institutions to treat one another with mutual respect and decorum.
The statement stressed “We therefore recommend an immediate roundtable discussion between the top hierarchy of the security agencies, media organisations, CSOs involved with media and the National Media Commission (NMC).”
“It is the view of the leadership of the three media groups that, the handlers of Ghana’s national security institute measures to weed out of the security agencies,undesired elements with barbaric and brutish tendencies, whose conduct always creates needless tension between poor civilians and the operatives of Ghana’s national security,” the statement noted.
The statement suggested that the findings and recommendations from the Committee of Enquiry set up by the Ministry of National Security and the Complaints Settlement Committee of the National Media Commission should be implemented with utmost urgency to give meaning to our maxim as a land of freedom and justice.