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Assault on journalists: Growing sense of media insecurity worrying – NCCE

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has condemned the attacks on media practitioners in the country by operatives of the National Security.

In a press statement, the Commission said the surge in assaults against the media is worrying particularly when such actions infringe on the rights and freedoms of Ghanaians.

“The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) adds its voice to other well-meaning Ghanaians in condemning the alleged assaults on journalists by National Security operatives last week.

“The NCCE is gravely concerned about the invasion of Citi FM premises by armed security men on 11th May, 2021. We are worried about the growing sense of media insecurity as more journalists and media practitioners are targeted in their line of duty.

“These unfortunate incidents, besides hampering the work of the media in the country, is a violation of the right to free speech and expression and an affront to press freedom which the 1992 Constitution guarantees under Article 162,” parts of the statement read.

The comments follow the arrest and alleged assault of Citi FM journalist, Caleb Kudah by the National Security operatives on the basis of filming the premises of the National Ministry Security without authorization.

Speaking to the dramatic arrest of Citi FM journalist, Zoey Abu-Baidoo at the Adabraka based radio station, the NCCE described as a “violation of dignity, barbaric, unwarranted, unjustified and unconstitutional,” the method employed by the National Security.

“Granted that the journalists committed grievous crimes, Article 12 (2) of Chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution provides that “…Every person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, religion, creed or gender shall be entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual contained in this Chapter but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest…”. Thus, it is dreadful for the security operatives to heavily descend on these reporters in this manner,” it added.

The National Commission for Civic Education is of this view, calling on the government and the security agencies to investigate the attacks and punish perpetrators in order to create and maintain a safe working environment for journalists and the citizenry at large.

Failure to apprehend the culprits, the Commission says, may have a telling effect on the freedom of expression by Ghanaians especially media practitioners who champion the voice of the voiceless.

“For the sake of our democracy, the NCCE appeals for the cessation of these alleged abuses,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the NCCE has entreated journalists to be “responsible and measured in their line of work as well as to uphold the ethical standards of their profession.”

The Commission also recommends that the National Media Commission, the Ghana Journalists Association, Media Foundation for West Africa and Civil Society Organisations intensify efforts and collaboration to ensure the preservation of freedom of the press.

Also reacting to the denial of students to fast in Wesley Girls SHS, the NCCE has entreated the relevant stakeholders in discussing the issue to pay heed to the Constitution despite the need for students to obey school rules.

“We must remind ourselves of the peace and harmony we have enjoyed as a people practicing diverse religion. Our peace as a nation has been our strength and the Commission cautions all Ghanaians not to allow our difference in religion to divide us and sow seeds for acts of religious fanaticism.

“It would be a price too high to pay. Let us not take the peace we are enjoying for granted, even as we work to preserve our democracy and put Ghana First in all our dealings,” it concluded.

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