President of the Ghana Journalists Association, (GJA) Albert Dwumfour, has warned that journalists will be compelled to fight back if attacks on media houses and journalists continue.
The GJA’s president’s caution follows recent attacks on UTV and a Citi TV reporter by both NPP and NDC thugs respectively.
Speaking at the 27th GJA Awards night at the Accra International Conference Center on Sunday, Mr Dwumfour said, “We cannot allow the attacks against media practitioners and institutions to continue. We shall fight back fiercely against such attacks. And in so doing, we shall deploy our strongest weapons, including taking legal action, laying down our pens and microphones, and calling for blackout on bodies (corporate and individual) that attack media practitioners or institutions,”
According to him, “These actions may not be palatable for the sustenance of our democratic and security architecture, but in the circumstances, they may be very helpful for the safety and security of journalists. We urge the three arms of State and other institutions that have the interest of the country’s democracy and security at heart to help address the impunity against the media”
Mr Dwumfour also advised journalists to do their work professionally. “Whilst condemning attacks against the media, I must hasten to admonish media practitioners and institutions to be very professional in the discharge of their duties. The GJA does not, and will not, condone unprofessional conduct. We will not shield or provide cover for deviants of professionalism.
In the coming days or weeks, we shall roll out a monitoring mechanism based on which we shall call out media practitioners and institutions that lower the bar of professionalism”
“Rev. Chairman, let me quickly add that when we speak of media freedom, economic liberties are encompassed as well. Poor remuneration for journalists does impact our standing on the press freedom index. As a result, the GJA once more urges the government through the Ministry of Information to enhance the working conditions of journalists employed by state-owned media organizations.
Additionally, they ought to be provided with the means or resources to perform their duties without fear or favor, to live up to the moniker, “Fourth Estate of the realm.” This admonition or appeal is extended to owners of private media organizations as well. The welfare of journalists must be accorded due respect, and the GJA is resolute in its commitment to vigorously advance this cause,” Mr Dwumfour added.