Today, as the world commemorates the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) calls on all stakeholders to demonstrate sincere and determined efforts to end the state of impunity for crimes against Ghanaian journalists.
We are extremely worried that Ghana, a country once acclaimed internationally as a bastion of democracy and media freedom in Africa, is fast sliding down the slope with impunity for crimes against journalists and other media practitioners.
The lack of sincere and determined efforts by key actors, particularly the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, towards ending the state of impunity for crimes against Ghanaian journalists, are fast pushing the country’s democracy and development to disastrous ebbs.
For the past five years (between 2019 and 2023), the GJA has recorded 45 cases of assault/attack against media practitioners and institutions.
Given that the year 2023 has recorded the highest number of cases per year, with October 2023 also recording the highest number of cases per month (four cases), there is a trend of worsening impunity for crimes against media practitioners and institutions. And that is extremely worrying.
Sadly, many of those cases were not investigated and prosecuted, strengthening the resolve of the perpetrators and like-minded people to continue the impunity.
We call on the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, as well as other state actors, to show greater commitment towards ending such impunity against the media. We urge the Attorney-General and the Police to prefer the requisite charges against people who indulge in such impunity in order to ensure the imposition of maximum punishment against them. We also urge the Judiciary not to be lenient with convicts of such crime in order to deter other from doing same.
The GJA remains committed to fighting against all forms of impunity against media practitioners and institutions.
This was demonstrated last year when we launched the Journalists Support Fund (JSF). The Fund is aimed at providing legal support to victims of impunity and also deploy other weapons, including blacklisting of individuals and institutions that may assault or attack the media henceforth.
May the commemoration of this year’s International Day to End the Impunity of Crimes Against Journalists mark a point of reference in Ghana as the day Ghana began to retrace its steps from the state of impunity for crimes against journalists, and onto the path of righteousness as far as media freedom is concerned.