Mr Roland Affail Monney, President, Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), says the laws of Ghana must bite hard at the enemies of press freedom, regardless of who they are and what they have.
He said by this, the national motto of “Freedom and Justice” would hold true, saying, Ghana was still a reference point and standard measure in terms of press freedom, and this sterling image must be defend.
Speaking at a press conference on the threat by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong against Joy FM’s Ashanti Regional correspondent Mr Erastus Asare Donkor, he said the threat presented another prompt to deal surgically with the cancer of impunity which was a stain on Ghana’s reputation as the citadel of press freedom in Africa.
Mr Monney said the voice in the video was clear and the threats were real, where Mr Agyapong called for serious beating of Mr Donkor over his coverage of the Ejura shooting incident and his submissions at the Committee investigating same.
He said since then the Multimedia Group, owners of Joy FM had petitioned the President of the Republic, Speaker of Parliament, Interior and National Security Ministers, Asantehene, Ashanti Regional Minister, IGP, CID Director and media watch groups.
Mr Monney said the MP was well known for his plain talk and verbal jabs, so some people may be inclined to dismiss the video in question as a normal rendition of his unrestrained comments and emotional outbursts.
“However, the hard truth is that Mr Agyapong’s comments ignite concerns of cathedral proportions relative to the most tragic circumstances of the assassination of Mr Ahmed Suale of Tiger Eye fame two and half years ago.”
He alleged that “the MP who also owns NET 2 had urged people in the Madina area where his station is located to beat up Mr Suale over his role in the Number 12 expose on corruption within the Ghana Football Association. What followed was the unprecedented savagery which claimed Mr Suale’s life.”
Mr Monney said they lacked the expertise to establish any causal nexus between his comments then, and the assassination thereafter, and they needed no superfluity of evidence to measure the malignant impact of such offensive utterances on some rogue elements in society.
“Regrettably, the investigations to unravel the facts, expose the killer or killers and exact justice were taking too long.”
He said with this background, it could be a fatal gamble to toy with the threats against the life of Mr Donkor, as every life was of sacred worth and intrinsic value.
“The right to life and personal liberty is of primordial importance which all Ghanaians everywhere and at all times must enjoy. The life of Mr Donkor must be protected at all costs, and the national security apparatus must take this up with urgent promptitude and utmost seriousness.”
The GJA President said it was not enough for the petition to the relevant quarters to gain traction, but concrete action on all fronts was needed to address the issue.
He urged journalists to be unafraid and unintimidated as they unraveled the truth, expose dark spots, hold power to account and illuminate society with quality news and information.
“All journalists must be in the frontline to defend their freedom not with scrupulous regard for the foundational values of truth, fairness, balance and objectivity. We must work with utmost responsibility and highest sensitivity.”