GJA worried about delay in investigating attacks on journalists

Mr Suala Abdul Wahab, the Upper West Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has expressed worry about the undue delay of the security agencies in investigating alleged attacks on journalists and other media practitioners in the country. He called on the Police and the Attorney General's Department to quicken investigations into reported cases of attacks and murder of journalists and media practitioners for justice to prevail. Mr Wahab said this in Wa at the weekend during the region's commemoration of this year's World Press Freedom Day organised by the Upper West Regional branch of the Association. Media personnel in the region and other stakeholders attended the symposium, which also witnessed the launch of the maiden edition of the Upper West Regional GJA Awards scheme to promote journalistic excellence in the region. Mr Wahab cited the attack on him by some immigration officers at Naro, a community in the Nadowli-Kaleo District on June 20, 2023, and threatened to shoot him, but almost a year into the incident, the GJA was yet to be informed of the outcome of the investigations. 'If it takes one year to investigate an attack, we do not know how long it will take to investigate a murder,' he lamented. He also mentioned the murder of Ahmed Suale, the alleged attack on a Citi FM reporter at an NDC function in Accra and the attack on another Citi FM reporter by NPP in Yendi as a few instance of how risky the journalism job was but investigations of these cases and many others were yet to be concluded. While condemning the attacks on media personnel, Mr Wahab also reminded the journalists and media practitioners of the need to be always guided by the journalists' code of conduct in the course of their work. 'As we condemn attacks on journalists, we need to remind ourselves that journalists are fallible. We make mistakes either by commission or omission. And when we do, let us admit and correct them. But failure to correct our mistakes does not in any way warrant attacks,' he added. Mr Peter Maala, the Upper West Regional Coordinating Director, acknowledged the cordial relationship between the media in the region and the Regional Coordinating Council and appreciated the efforts of the media in selling the potentials of the region to the international community. 'That is bringing the region to the limelight on many fronts. I observed that the two years that I have been here and even when I was outside the region, I realised that the Upper West Region was always in the news', he explained. Mr Ubeidu Siddique, the Upper West Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), observed that the once enviable position of Ghana in the global press freedom index had been marred by recent assaults and attacks on journalists. He said it was unfortunate that attacks on journalists had mostly gone uninvestigated and perpetrators unpunished, which emboldened them to commit more. Mr Siddique said to address the increasing attacks on journalists, the government commissioned the Office for the Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists to set up an official resource for filing complaints about attacks on journalists. He, however, said there had been slow progress in the office's dealing on its mandate in addressing the concerns of journalists. He said despite the obstacles the media faced, it still discharged its mandate creditably, including reporting on corruption and crime, and demanding accountability from duty-bearers. Mr Siddique added that the media had also helped to shape and transform Ghana's culture and tradition as well as provide a platform for the promotion of fundamental human rights and freedom. Source: Ghana News Agency