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The Media Foundation for West Africa (WFWA) recorded a total of 138 incidents of violation against Ghanaian journalists and media workers since 2004, representing an average of nearly 14 violations a year.
According to MFWA, physical attacks on journalists, representing about 67% of all violations had been the most prevalent form of violations in Ghana over the last ten years.
The next prevalent form of violence, MFWA said, was the detention of journalists, with 2008 as the worst year in the decade during which 24 violations were recorded.
These were contained in a paper presented by the Executive Director of MFWA, Mr Sulemana Braimah, at a forum organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in Accra, yesterday, to mark the United Nations Day on the safety of Journalists and the issue of impunity in Ghana.
Mr Braimah noted that even though 2008 was an election year, the 2012 figure of 9 violations, compared with figures for other non-election years, did not suggest any relationship between elections and incidents of press freedom violations.
“Other bad years for journalists during the decade were 2009 (21 violations); 2006 (20 violations); 2010 (16 violations) and 2014 (14 violations so far),” he added.
He said for the perpetrators of violations, the security agencies (police and military) had been the worst culprits, accounting for over 38 % of all violations against journalists (53 out of 138).
Mr Braimah said the next form of perpetrators were party supporters, with about 30 violations out of 138; followed by individuals, with about 22 violations out of a total of 138.
He expressed disappointment that the perpetrators of violations often went unpunished, or at best, simply rendered apologies to their victims.
He said the lack of a conscious and determined effort on the part of the state to punish crimes committed against journalists had the potential of fostering impunity and emboldening perpetrators and potential ones to commit further violations.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to ensure that the promotion and protection of the journalists as clearly articulated in UNESCO’s safety of journalist indicators.
For her part, the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Creative Arts Madam, Dzifa Abla Gomashie, urged journalists to worked professionally and be responsible in their reportage, Madam Gomashie noted that Ghanaian journalists now reported news items with lots of sensationalism, disregarding the impact the stories had on the lives of the people it concerned.
Mr Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, a member of the National Media Commission (NMC), disclosed that his office, in collaboration with other institutions, was in discussions with the national security agencies to put in place the necessary measures for the safety of journalists.
Source: ISD (Aliyah Bayali)