The Ashanti Regional Chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has expressed dissatisfaction over the poor treatment of journalists in the region during President Mahama’s three-day tour of the region a few weeks ago.
The local GJA says it had noted with displeasure the apparent lack of respect, and poor manner in which its members were handled during the President’s visit and other government functions organised under the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC). A statement signed by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the association, Mr. Listowell Yesu Bukarson, also described the government’s decision to refer the controversial “doctored tape” to the police, as amounting to interference and intimidation of the media.
Mr. Yesu Bukarson also condemned the alleged threats on its members from all sides of the political divide, warning that journalists in the region will not be cowed into submission by such threats and intimidations, be it from the government or political party representatives.
“We will resist intimidations, threats, frustrations, and disrespect of the Ashanti media by all, including the government.”
The GJA chairman noted with dismay the decision of the Information and Media Relations Minister, Mahama Ayariga, to refer the matter to the police, instead of the National Media Commission (NMC), stressing, “this amounts to exhibition of lack of respect to the entire media fraternity, more especially, when it was widely believed that some media personnel doctored the said tape.”
He stated that the Ashanti GJA also took strong exception to the manner in which its members were handled during the President’s visit, stressing, “Journalists covering the three-day tour of the President in the region were given a raw deal; they were bundled in very uncomfortable van, and left to feed on a handful of meals, whilst their colleagues from Accra were given preferential treatment.”
The GJA chairman noted: “To the extent that the President’s Media coordinators selected their preferred media friends over other colleague journalists during the inspection of the tarmac at the Kumasi Airport was so Shylock, unacceptable, and must be condemned.” He also made reference to similar treatments in the past by National Security details, particularly during high level government functions, adding, “The GJA is tempted to believe that there is a ground scheme to discriminate against some media houses in the coverage of government programmes in the Ashanti Region.”
Mr. Yesu Bukarson, however, cautioned that such attempts will be fiercely resisted in the interest of press freedom, emphasising that it is the duty of the government and its functionaries to respect every media personnel in the region, or “we will advise ourselves regarding future coverage of government events in the region.”
Source: The Chronicle
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