The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has initiated a move to solicit the support of journalists so as to be able to petition President John Dramani Mahama to institute punitive measures against presidential staffer Stan Dogbe for his alleged attack on a reporter of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Yahaya Kwamoah on August 20, 2015.
MFWA petition Mahama over Stan Dogbe's conduct
According to MFWA, the misconduct of Stan Dogbe has a bearing on the reputation of the presidency
According to the foundation, the proposed petition, a copy of which is published below, is important because "when a journalist is humiliated, it affects the dignity of all journalists".
"More importantly, the misconduct of a presidential staffer has a bearing on the reputation of the presidency," it said.
Last month, it publicly condemned the current Mahama administration’s failure to take action against Stan Dogbe, for reportedly seizing and destroying the tape recorder of a journalist.
The GBC's Yahaya Kwamoah had gone to the 37 Military Hospital to report on an accident involving the presidential press corps (which killed Ghanaian Times’ Samuel Nuamah), when Mr Dogbe allegedly accosted him and destroyed his recorder.
The assault is said to have been triggered by Mr Kwamoah’s alleged recording of a ‘private’ conversation between Communications Minister Omane Boamah and Mr Dogbe.
The development provoked a firestorm of controversy, with some members of the public calling for punitive action against Mr Dogbe.
But more than a month after the incident, the Presidency has yet to take action against Mr Dogbe, prompting the MFWA to conclude that by failing to act on the matter, the Presidency was "condoning impunity over acts of human rights violations and violations of press freedom for that matter”.
The foundation also criticised the GBC’s decision to treat the matter as an internal matter despite calls for the police to be involved.
Now the MFWA wants to go a step further by officially sending a petition to the President.
"Ghanaian journalists should not accept that their protests, condemnation and calls for action over that incident at 37 Military Hospital, should be treated with contempt," Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of MFWA said in a cover letter to colleagues in the media fraternity.
Below is the a copy of the petition
His Excellency President of the Republic of GhanaFlagstaff HouseAccra September 30, 2015
Your Excellency,Petition – Abuse of Journalist by Presidential Staffer
On 20th August, 2015, your staff Mr Stan Dogbe, assaulted Mr Yahyah Kwamoah, a journalist with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Mr. Dogbe seized and destroyed the voice recorder of the journalist at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra after the latter had complied with his request to stop recording a conversation said to be private.
Since the incident happened, many notable personalities, journalists and organisations have called on your esteemed office to take action against the presidential staffer.
These demands for action were intended for you to demonstrate commitment to the safety of journalists and intolerance to impunity.
It is important to point out the aggression by your staffer happened at a sad moment for journalists when colleagues covering your office had been involved in a serious accident that resulted in the death of one journalist and several others being injured.
We are concerned that over a month after the incident, and despite the several pleas from many people and organisations your office has not acted on the matter.
It is our considered view that the conduct by a staff of your highly esteemed office has a direct bearing on the reputation of the office. We therefore call on you to show personal commitment to the rights of journalists and your intolerance of acts that may bring your highly esteemed office into disrepute.
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