People Who Attack Journalists Must Be Punished Severely- Oppong Nkrumah

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, has asked judges to ‘punish’ people who attack journalists severely irrespective of their social status and political affiliations.

He also urged them to increase the pace at which they delivered justice to journalists in such circumstances.
The Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ofoase Ayirebi Constituency in the Eastern Region, said that those actions were needed urgently to curb the attacks on journalists in the country.

He said: “The wheels of justice may grind slowly, but My Lord Chief Justice, the feedback I have from my media colleagues is that we believe some quick punitive action targeted at the perpetrators of infringements against media practitioners will be appreciated.”

Mr Oppong Nkrumah was speaking at the opening ceremony of a training programme for judges on the need to protect freedom of expression and safety of journalists at Ho, on Monday.

He said that such a move: “Will be the strongest message to the next batch of state and non-state actors that it is not acceptable to attack journalists no matter how much you disagree with what they say.”

Mr Abdourahmane Diallo, UNESCO Country Representative, also called on all duty-bearers, arbitration authorities, and the security services to give the needed attention to the safety and freedom of expression of journalists.
He noted that those were fundamental indices in determining how compliant or negligent a country was relative to its constitutional provisions on those freedoms.

Prof Professor Dominic Dennis Adjei, who represented the Chief Justice, called for collaboration between stakeholders within the media space to build a more robust ecosystem that ensured that infringements on the safety of journalists were reduced to the barest minimum if not eliminated completely.

The programme was to deepen the capacity of judges and reinforce their expertise in fighting against abuses of journalists by ensuring prosecution and trial of those responsible.

About 25 judges from the High and Appeal Courts were participants in the training.

The Ministry of Information in addressing the issue of attacks on journalists has since 2019 embarked on several programmes with the objective of supporting the Ghanaian media.

This includes the inauguration of the office of the Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists (CMSJ) under the National Media Commission (NMC).

The office is to ensure the development of a framework for use by all stakeholders to create a safe and conducive environment for the practice of journalism; prevent violence against journalists; protect journalists in danger; and prosecute perpetrators of violence against journalists.

The Ministry through its Media Capacity Enhancement Programme (MCEP) is also providing training for some 250 journalists on emerging issues in Journalism.

The Right to Information (RTI) has also been rolled out in full and has seen the training and deployment or designation of RTI officers in the almost 600 government offices nationwide.

The Ministry has also facilitated a broad-based consultation on a new broadcasting bill, which will assist state institutions to regulate the broadcasting sector better.

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