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Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) David Eklu, the Director-General, Public Affairs, Ghana Police Service has advised journalists to first report any Police attack on them to the nearest Police Station before going to the press.

He said the situation whereby journalists report in the media about police attacks on them without making formal complaints to the nearest Police Station, only leads to the matter ending up in the media.

“We have Press Investigation Unit at my office. Normally, some of these cases ends up only in the media. And we don’t have records to take practical steps to investigate,” ACP Eklu stated on Thursday in Accra during a panel discussion at a Forum on Safety of Journalists.

The forum was jointly organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Assistant (GJA) to mark World Press Freedom Day.

Other panel members were Mr Roland Affail Monney, GJA President; Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, Dean, School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana; and Mr Salifu Abdul Rahaman, Senior Assistant Editor, Ghanaian Times Newspaper.

ACP Eklu noted that the first step of handling a crime was to report it to the nearest police station; stating that, “if you report it in the news, it ends there”.

He said reporting a crime in the news was good but it should be preceded by a Police Station complaint.

He said the victim reporting the matter to the Police was the starting point for his outfit to follow and monitor how police handled cases against journalists and the public.

ACP Eklu called for cordial working relationship between the Police and the journalists.

Prof Gadzekpo advised media owners to address the issue of the safety of journalists by helping identify them and providing them with protective gadgets; especially, when covering conflict related events.

She said journalists should be the hub for public education about their work (journalism); adding that more importantly to religious bodies, in order for them not to attack them when they write about their leaders.

Professor Kwame Karikari, Board Member MFWA, urged media training institutions to help media houses develop guidelines for their journalists to ensure their safety.

Mr Affail Monney urged media practitioners not to compromise on their professional ethics and keep safe to be able to live and tell their stories.

Mr Rahman said being heckled and brutalized like a criminal was not anything the journalist should go through and called on the police to see them as partners in development.

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The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.

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