…. For establishing Journalists Support Fund to support practitioners
The Justice of the Supreme Court, His Lordship Justice Yonny Kulendi has commended the President and National Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and its sponsors for the establishment the Journalists Support Fund with the aim of lending support to journalists and media practitioners who become victims in the line of duty.
“The idea of using the fund to pursue legal actions for journalists who may fall victim to such unjustifiable violence is very laudable. It is a good and worthy cause that I implore the public to support. I will be remiss not to acknowledge and commend the partners of the GJA in this effort and in particular, the example of the Ghana Police Service”.
He made this commendation during the official launch of the Journalists Support Fund by the current GJA Executives help in Accra.
Justice Kulendi however, implore the citizenry, corporate ghana and the development partners to support GJA in order to make the ‘JournaliIsts Support Fund’ a reality and to achieve the purpose for which it is established.
The media he indicated, plays a critical role in the promotion of democracy, good governance, transparency, probity, accountability and the development of every country.
“Journalists and media practitioners make a lot of sacrifices and take unimaginable risks to inform, educate and even entertain society in ways that are crucial to wellbeing and common good of society. The most critical of these roles is the constitutional imperative to hold the men/women and institutions of power to the requirements of transparency, probity and accountability. It is generally in this line of responsibility as the Fourth Estate of the Realm that our journalists and media men and women face the most risk at the hands the men and women of power and their agents and beneficiaries who their activities seek to hold accountable to the sovereign, the Ghanaian people and the constitution”.
The President General of the Center for Awareness Global Peace Mission and Chief Executive of COA Research and Manufacturing company, Prof. Ato Duncan, urged individuals and corporate institutions to contribute generously to the fund.
GJA he averred, seeks to raise at least Ghc2 million as seed capital for the Journalists Support Fund, aiming at providing support for journalists and media practitioners who may suffer attacks in their line of duty.
“This will be in the form of providing legal support to enable the victims seek legal remedies against their attackers. I am also informed that the JSF will be used to support retirees in distress”.
The Center of Awareness Global Peace Mission, Prof. Duncan pointed out in an effort to address issues confronting peace by implementing human centered programs, would support the noble initiative by committing resources towards its achievement.
“This initiative by the GJA falls in line with our vision of creating a world that is free of violence”.
The President of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr. Albert Kwabena Dwumfour express his heartfelt gratitude to Professor Samuel Ato Duncan, President-General of the COA Mixture Manufacturing Company Limited and Centre of Awareness and Global Peace Mission (COA-GPM), for his years of dedication to media development in the country.
“He has done so much for us, and his organization, which promotes world peace, is also the headline sponsor for our upcoming Awards. He is truly appreciated by the GJA”.
He appealed to the Ghana Police to remain focused on bringing the killers of Ahmed Suale to book. “We trust our men in black will do this to honour his memory”.
According Mr. impunity for crimes against journalists is a major concern around the world saying, many journalists have suffered attacks and gone through excruciating pain over the years.
He noted that, the impunity for crimes against journalists continues unabated. “What is more worrying is the fact that, invariably, the victims of such crimes do not get justice largely because they lack the financial wherewithal to pursue legal action against their perpetrators. In other instances, they do not have the means to even seek medical treatment”.
The GJA President said, the gruesome murder of Ahmed Suale, the assault on Latif Iddrisu, the arrest and detention of some Journalists in the country as well as poor economic conditions, including low pay, is the reason Ghana dropped in the World Press Freedom Index by the Rapporteur Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders where. Ghana fell 30 places in the World Press Freedom Index to 60th place.
He again added that, the combined effect of the spate of attacks and the rampant arrests of journalists as though they were criminals, as well as the backsliding of Ghana in the World Press Freedom Index, send worrying signals, especially to international media watchers who still regard Ghana as a reference point for press freedom and democracy in Africa.
“Ghana must now be seen to be working hard to reclaim her position on the World Press Freedom Index. We must not, and dare not, fall further behind in the league table of free media systems in Africa and the world”.
Mr Kwabena Dwumfour averred that, his administration believe that establishing the fund would go a long way toward assisting journalists who are attacked by covering their medical and legal expenses.
One of the key objects of the Fund he stated, is to offer legal services to journalists whose rights may be violated in the line of duty.
“The era when journalists were assaulted but do not get justice due to lack of funds to pursue legal action will soon become history”.