Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has cautioned the two big political parties in Ghana to stop attacking journalists in their line of duty, which risks jeopardising the cordial media relations with the parties.
“As the 2024 elections approach, we wish to caution politicians who have become experts at undermining and attacking journalists to cease doing so, as the GJA will make every effort to confront them,” he said.
“The GJA will go to every length under the law to deal with political actors who may attack journalists as we gear up for the 2024 elections.”
The President gave the warning at the Third GJA Awards for the Northern Region and said that was one of the reasons that prompted the Association to choose its theme: “Leveraging Media Freedom to Sustain the Democratic and Security Architecture: The Litmus Test of the 2024 Election,” for the upcoming 27th GJA Awards.
The focus is to address such concerns and prepare journalists ahead of the 2024 elections.
Mr Dwumfour said: “The media serve as a link between the Government and the governed and so we need to be accorded the needed protection and the room to operate to ensure national development and cohesion.”
The media have become target objects by political parties in recent times, which some analysts say was part of a scheme to intimidate the media into silence, and to give room for the “political tags to drive chaos and plunge the country to disarray”.
The GJA President condemned in no uncertain terms the invasion of UTV and the assault on the Citi TV/FM reporter, by affiliates of the ruling party and the major opposition party, respectively, and reiterated the GJA’s strong disapproval of those incidences.
“This development is abhorrent. This barbaric behaviour cannot continue, and we also expect the police to act swiftly in response,” he said.
Mr Dwumfour used the occasion to announce this years’ National GJA Awards, which comes off on the 29th of October, 2023 at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).
“All is set and done for the mega awards,” he added.
He congratulated the award winners and assured them of the Association’s continuous support, while encouraging journalists and media practitioners not to be intimidated by the recent attacks.
“Rather, we must defy them and serve the public interest,” he advised.
The Third GJA Awards for the Northern Region saw 12 categories being competed for.
Mr Mohammed Fugu of the Graphic Communications Group was adjudged the Northern Regional Journalist of the Year (2022). He also won the Environment, and Tourism and Culture awards.
Miss Rosemary Wayo and Mrs Comfort Sena Fetrie-Akagbor of the Ghana News Agency (GNA) took home the Best Mental Health Reporter and Best Road Safety Reporter, respectfully.