The Ghanaian media community is once again enduring excruciating pain following the inglorious attacks perpetrated by loyalists of the Head Pastor of Glorious Word Power Ministries International, Rev Isaac Owusu Bempah at the premises of an Accra High court where he is standing trial for alleged assault and other offenses.
With brazen impunity, well-muscled men of the church reportedly prevented the court reporters from gaining access to the room to perform their legitimate duty and visited mayhem on those who dared them. All this happened at the citadel of justice.
With all the vehemence it can muster, the GJA condemns the latest desecration of the rights of journalists and affront of press freedom and demands swift justice against the uncouth men of Owusu Bempah.
While we welcome the apology of the Police Administration and assurance of future protection for journalists, the GJA principally holds the view that the timely gesture of the rebranded Ghana Police does not and should not absolve the offenders from tasting the biting edge of the law as articulated by Article 17(1) of the Constitution which simply says no one is above the law.
On Friday, March 15, 2019, Owusu Bempah stormed the premises of Radio XYZ in the company of four gun-wielding thugs in search of a radio presenter at the station. In the process, the administrator and staff of the station were molested. Nothing punitive happened to Owusu Bempah. On December 13, 2018, the same man of God had apparently been driven by red hot anger to vandalize equipment at Hot FM. He walked a free man thereafter. It is needless to note that Owusu Bempah and his followers did and said anything with careless abandon and naked impunity until the air of untouchability surrounding them was punctured with the latest arrest.
While the landmark trial travels its full throttle, we urge the law and order community not to allow the latest attacks against journalists to be overshadowed by the dominant case or swept under the carpet. Justice must manifestly and expeditiously be done the victims to amplify the message that no one is indeed above the law.