The US Embassy in Ghana has praised the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) for his sustained efforts in ensuring accountability for Ghanaian journalists who are attacked.

According to the Press Attaché at the US Embassy, Ghana, Kevin Brosnahan, he is proud to be associated with the GJA, under the leadership of President Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor, who has rigorously called for accountability for those journalists who were attacked.

This, he stressed, was a ‘great example’ of a democratic institution (like the GJA), protecting a democratic process.

Mr Brosnahan made the commendation while speaking at the GJA/US Embassy workshop in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, for journalists dubbed: “Journalists for Peaceful Discourse.”

It was the third in a series of five programmes lined up by the GJA/US Embassy, Ghana, to train and prepare Ghanaian journalists towards the coverage of this year’s (2024) general elections.

The Zone 3 programme was attended by media practitioners from Ashanti, Bono East, Bono, and Ahafo Regions.

The US Press Attaché underscored that journalism plays an indispensable role in elections.

“Its journalists who help the public understand the issues at hand, the candidates and help them focus on their decisions for the future of Ghana,” he said.

While admitting that Ghana has a strong history of peaceful elections and transitions of power, Mr Brosnaham cautioned against giving any space for complacency.

“Ghana’s elections, this year, are very important. Ghana is a symbol of democracy in West Africa. And now more than ever democracy is challenged in the region.

…And one of the best ways to show that democracy is the best way forward in the region is to hold free and fair elections this year; that is free of violence,” he averred.

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He reiterated the US support to work with particularly the media to ensure free and fair elections in Ghana, and more importantly, free of violence.

He, however, cautioned that democracy can be fragile, hence called on journalists to take steps to protect it.

“….and we all have it within our reach to protect the democratic institutions that protect our rights, and journalism plays a key role in protecting Ghana’s democratic institutions,” he pointed out.

Earlier, the GJA President, Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor, lamented the increasing intolerance against the media and concerns of media excesses, particularly during elections.

He stated that the stakes in this year’s elections are much higher, especially as the ruling NPP is determined to break the norm to retain power after eight years in office, while the opposition NDC is equally leaving nothing to chance to wrestle power from the NPP.

He also indicated that election 2024 was also being organised against the backdrop of insecurity, terrorism and insurgency in the West African sub-region.
“All these factors point to a heightened and tense atmosphere, raising the need to ensure that journalists/Talk Show hosts in their agenda-setting role, maintain an atmosphere that encourages discussion of policy issues, while promoting and protecting the space for peaceful discourse, integral to a successful peaceful election in December, 2024,” he underscored.

Mr Dwumfuor, therefore, used the opportunity to, once again, commend the US Embassy, Ghana, for this “impactful project.”

“I must emphasise that the US Embassy Ghana Office has since 2012, supported the GJA to run election programmes which provide a platform for Journalists, Media Owners and Civil Society to reflect on the performance of the media in previous elections. This enables us to take note of flashpoints and suggests ways of promoting civility in the political discourse,” he said.

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These engagements, he stated, have contributed to the strengthening and promotion of high journalistic standards in the country.

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