The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication, Kenneth Ashigbey has described as “shameful”, the physical attacks journalists face in the line of duty.
Mr. Ashigbey wants the public to acknowledge that attacking journalists for doing their work is an attack on the right speech.
“It is important that all of us as Ghanaians realise that it is our very freedom [and] our right to speech that is attacked when journalists are attacked…and it’s been happening for too long,” the frustrated advocate expressed on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
The comments come on the back of a brutal assault on JoyNews’ Latif Iddris by a group of officers at the Headquarters of the Police CID, while he was covering the arrest of National Democratic Congress’ Deputy General Secretary, Koku Anyidoho on March 27.
The award-winning journalist has been diagnosed with a broken skull and referred to a neurology specialist for a possible surgery. Two weeks after the incident, the police are yet to name the officers involved in the act.
But Mr. Ashigbey, a former Managing Director at Graphic Communications Group, wants the media to bring pressure to bear on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) David Asante Apeatu to bring the perpetrators to book.
“If the policeman is under attack the policeman would use the very resources that me and you [taxpayers’ money] give them…So for us as journalists, the same way we run to the aid of anybody who is under attack is the way we need to support a noble effort on ensuring that journalists are not beaten; journalist do not go through this,” he told Show host, Daniel Dadzie.
Mr. Ashigbey further stated, it is time the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) considered creating a “Roll of Honour” for journalists who suffer abuse and by that, name and shame the perpetrators.
“It’s about time we created a role of victims [and] heroes who have been beaten…we need to be chronicling people who have been beaten up at the GJA. …By the place of honour there should be a place of shame so that people who also perpetuate this we need to make sure that they are not forgotten.
He also urged the GJA make settlements of abuse cases public as against “going to negotiate ‘Nicodemus settlements’.
“When settlements happen they should be brought in the open. Because it is not the settlement that is important but it is also for the fact that the person accepts that he’s done wrong in beaten a journalist,” he said.
Earlier, Executive Director at the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah expressed disappointment that media organisations in the country have not given the issue the attention it deserved.
He described it as “an extremely worrying phenomenon” that the media have become victims of attacks from the police officers, who invariably turn to them in times of unjust treatments.
“I’m completely scandalized and I must say that I’m also very embarrassed that at this time of our democracy of [and] our development, we still have police officers who think that the way to go about their work is to beat people who do things that they are not happy with.
“If the police that we think when things happen to journalists we should rush to them to ensure that we get justice for journalists are the one who do this then where do we go,” he questioned.