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It is open season on Ghanaian journalists


Being a journalist is a great calling, I won’t do anything else; those of us who have chosen this line of work did so out of our love for story-telling.  There is nothing more exhilarating than telling the stories of the most powerful and the most disenfranchised. It is the adrenaline that drives us. 

I have never had the opportunity to practice journalism in Ghana. I have never had a Ghanaian editor breathing down my neck to meet a deadline, nor have I ever hit the streets and pavements of Accra, Tamale, Kumasi or any other big city in Ghana for that matter, chasing a news story, or phoning well-placed confidential Ghanaian government sources and others to corroborate facts on a news item.

Though employed by Zaa Radio, I practice my craft from afar. Distance, however, would not preclude me from supporting my fellow scriveners. So here I am, venting my anger and dismay at the way reporters are treated.

It is open season on Ghanaian journalists; they are being abused and assaulted and prevented from performing their duties. These egregious attacks, though perpetrated by a few misguided elements, are a sad commentary on society as a whole and raised serious questions about how committed we are to the political experiment called democracy.

What is galling about these assaults is that they were unprovoked. The victims were simply discharging their responsibilities.Take the case of Daniel Kenu, the Ashanti Regional Editor of the Daily Graphic whose assault galvanized the reading public and his fellow reporters. 

Kenu was pounced on by a thug, Baffour Gyan and his goon squad. Kenu’s crime was having the temerity to ask Gyan’s brother, Asamoah, the Black Stars Captain,at a press conference about the disappearance of hip-life artiste, Castro and his girlfriend Ms. Janet Bandu, during an outing at Ada some months ago and the star footballer’s alleged involvement. Kenu’s question may have been silly, but it was plenty innocuous.

Given the opportunity to exact vengeance on his attackers in court, Kenu chose to have the case withdrawn. His decision which he said was borne out of concern for his health and that of his family angered his fellow journalists and the general public who wanted Baffour and his cohorts punished to deter others. Speculation was rife that Kenu had been paid off by the wealthy Gyan brothers.

Baffour and his thugs are not the only culprits assaulting reporters; politicians and public servants are joining the fray, shaming and embarrassing reporters and preventing them from doing their work. The mayor of Accra, Alfred Vanderpuije, ordered the arrest of reporters from a local radio station, and a district manager of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in Ablekuma assaulted acid-tongued reporter, Afia Pokuaa and two others of Adom F.M.

For those who are oblivious to the intrinsic value of journalism, they should consider these; journalism contributes significantly to national debates on a myriad of issues, keeps policymakers on their toes by exposing waste, corruption and fraud in government but the most solemn responsibility of journalismis to educate, inform and entertain the general public.

An uneducated and ill-informed society is inherently dangerous andsusceptible to misinformation and propaganda. In short, the welfare of society hinges on a free press that isn’t stymied by censorshipand its reporters are not the victims of savage, unprovoked physical assaults by certain peeved members of society who resent press coverage of their activities.

The preponderance of radio stations, newspapers and television stations has helped to disseminate information to the remotest corner of the country, a true testament to our burgeoning democracy.  Competition for advertising cedis, the lifeblood of any news-gathering operation, has become fiercer.

Given this climate, journalists will jostle for scoops at any cost, ostensibly to edge out the competition.  Some may be aggressive in their pursuit of scoops and therein lies the problem. However, repugnant a reporter may be, assaulting him/her when they are discharging their duties is abhorrent and anathema to everything we stand for as a democratic society.

Politicians of all hues constantly call on reporters to carry out their duties fairly and without bias. But they don’t make things easy for reporters to gather and disseminate information with their daily criticism of the profession, which unfortunately emboldens the likes of Baffour Gyan, Vanderpujie and the head of the Ablekuma branch of the NHIA.

The recent assaults point to a painful reality; there isn’t adequate protection for reporters who are doing their best under the circumstances.  Resources for thorough and effective reporting are few and far in between and the profession isn’t financially remunerative, but reporters continue to soldier on. Our media organizations are symbols of our budding democracy; we ought to protect them at all cost because an attack on a reporter is an affront to this system.


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