Commemoration of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists: Stop attacks on media practitioners — GJA
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has called on stakeholders “to demonstrate sincere and determined efforts to end crimes against journalists”.
“We are extremely worried that a country once acclaimed internationally as a bastion of democracy and media freedom in Africa is fast sliding down the slope with impunity for crimes against journalists and other media practitioners,” it added.
This was contained in a statement issued in Accra yesterday to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
Lack of sincerity
The statement which was signed by the President of the association, Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, said key actors, particularly the executive, the legislature and the judiciary lacked sincere and determined efforts at ending the state of impunity for crimes against journalists, hence was “fast pushing the country’s democracy and development to disastrous ebbs”.
“For the past five years (2019 - 2023), the GJA has recorded 45 cases of assault on media practitioners and institutions.
Given that the year 2023 has recorded the highest number of cases per year, with October 2023 also recording the highest number of cases per month (four cases), there is a trend of worsening impunity for crimes against media practitioners and institutions; and this is extremely worrying.
“Sadly, many of those cases were not investigated and prosecuted, thus, strengthening the resolve of the perpetrators and like-minded people to continue the impunity,” it added.
The statement also urged the Attorney-General and the police to prefer requisite charges against people who indulge in such impunity to ensure the imposition of maximum punishment against them.
“We entreat the judiciary not to be lenient with convicts of such crimes in order to deter others from doing same,” it said.
The statement said the GJA remained committed to fighting against all forms of impunity against media practitioners and institutions as demonstrated last year when the association launched the Journalists Support Fund (JSF).
The fund is aimed at providing legal support to victims of impunity, including the deployment of other weapons such as blacklisting of individuals and institutions that attack media personnel henceforth.
“May the commemoration of this year’s event mark a point of reference in the country as a day the nation began to retrace its steps from the state of impunity for crimes against journalists, onto the path of righteousness as far as media freedom is concerned,” the statement further said.