In a sobering revelation, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has raised the alarm on the troubling escalation of impunity for crimes against Ghanaian journalists and media professionals.
The report, coinciding with the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, has underscored the urgent need for concerted action to safeguard the cherished principles of democracy and media freedom in the country.
GJA’s president, Albert Dwumfour, has expressed profound concern over the diminishing reputation of Ghana as an emblem of democracy and press freedom on the African continent.
As the nation grapples with a disconcerting surge in crimes against journalists, it is evident that the lack of earnest commitment from key governmental actors is imperiling the nation’s democratic fabric and stalling its development trajectory.
Over the last five years, spanning 2019 to 2023, GJA has meticulously documented 45 cases of assaults and attacks targeting media professionals and institutions.
The statistics paint a grim picture for media freedom in Ghana, with 2023 registering the highest annual count of such incidents, culminating in October of this year recording the most cases within a single month—four in total.
These statistics portray a troubling trend, wherein impunity for crimes against journalists is evidently worsening.
Moreover, what exacerbates the situation is the distressing fact that a substantial number of these cases have gone uninvestigated and unpunished, emboldening perpetrators and their ilk to perpetuate this climate of impunity.
The GJA is unequivocal in its call to action, urging the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, and other state actors to demonstrate unwavering commitment to ending this endemic impunity.
The association implores the Attorney-General and the Police to expedite charges against the culprits, ensuring the imposition of the most severe penalties to serve as a deterrent.
The Judiciary, in particular, is urged not to show leniency towards those convicted of such crimes, emphasizing the need for strict judicial enforcement.
GJA’s dedication to combating impunity against media practitioners and institutions was showcased last year with the launch of the Journalists Support Fund (JSF).
This initiative is specifically designed to offer legal support to victims of impunity while simultaneously deploying other formidable tools, such as the blacklisting of individuals and entities involved in assaults on the media.
As Ghana observes the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists this year, GJA’s message is clear: let this occasion mark a turning point in the nation’s resolve to confront impunity, paving the way for the restoration of Ghana’s commitment to media freedom and democratic values.