Five times journalists were attacked in Ghana in the last two years

In the last two years, the country’s ratings on the World Press Freedom index has declined because of a number of assault cases in which journalists have been attacked on the job.

It instils in every human; the right to speak freely; without interference and fear of persecution. This freedom is closely linked and sometimes interchanged with the freedom of the press. This is because, citizens raise their voices on issues of concern mainly through the press as it the most effective way to get their concerns to the corridors of power.

Attacks against journalist in Ghana remain low and the freedom with which the press operate in Ghana is significantly higher than many countries in Africa and beyond. However in the last two years, the country’s ratings on the World Press Freedom index has declined because of a number of assault cases in which journalists have been on the receiving side just because they were doing their jobs to provide the citizenry with accurate information.

The latest of these attacks happened at the premises of the Supreme Court of Ghana. Some journalists were attacked by the supporters of the three Montie FM panellists cited for contempt after they had allegedly threatened to kill judges.

Here is a list of five of such incidents which have occurred between 2014 till date.

1. 2014: Daniel Kenu (Daily Graphic)

Graphic’s Ashanti Regional bureau chief Daniel Kenu was assaulted by a group of thugs led by former Black Stars player Baffour Gyan at the Kumasi Sports Stadium. This was moments after he had asked Baffour’s brother (the current captain of the Black Stars; Asamoah Gyan) ‘a stupid question’ about the disappearance of his friend the musician Castro.

2. 2014: Afia Poku, Nana Sefa and Kofi Assan (Adom FM)

These three journalists were assaulted by staff of the health insurance office in Accra. This was after one of the reporters, Nana Sefa, had gone there to report on the complaints of persons who had been queuing since 3am to go through biometric registration. In June 2016, a court in Accra ordered the offenders to pay damages to the three.

3. 2015: Yahya Kwamoah (Ghana Broadcasting Corporation)

The GBC’s Kwamoah was attacked and had his recorder destroyed by the Stan Dogbe, who was then the Head of Communications at the presidency. The Media Foundation for West Africa has petitioned the president towards the dismissal of Mr. Dogbe. The petition has since then garnered the signatures of about 155 journalists from 40 press houses. Mr. Dogbe still works at the presidency.

4. 2015: Edem Tsotsorme Mensah (Ghanaian Times)

Interestingly, Mensah of the Ghanaian Times was also assaulted outside courtrooms in Accra by the family of suspected accomplices to a woman who smuggled drugs to Britain.

5. 2015: George Abanga (Success FM and Peace FM)

Abanga was shot and killed at close range on his way back from reporting a dispute between cocoa farm owners and their workers in the Brong Ahafo Region. Some colleagues believe ‘King George’ (as he was affectionately known) was targeted for his investigative work about the struggle between the two groups.

Media, access to information and the multiplicity of voices is the surest way our country can move forward. As such, it is important for the impunity cease and it starts by arresting and charging the perpetrators of this latest attack to serve as a deterrent to others. After all, journalism is not a crime.

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