Host of the Citi Breakfast Show and General Manager of Citi FM/Citi TV, Bernard Koku Avle has expressed concerns over attacks on journalists and media houses.
Highlighting his observations about the nuances in the relationship between radio, citizens and governments at the 16th edition of the “Kronti ne Akwamu” (Democracy and Governance) lecture, Mr. Avle indicated that attacks on journalists have increased, despite the passage of the Right to Information Law and the repeal of the criminal libel law in 2001.
“The repeal of the criminal libel law in 2001 was a breath of fresh air for journalists and media houses. This has been followed by the passage of the Right to Information Law (awaiting implementation).”
“However, while these laws exist on paper, the attacks against journalists have gone up, with security forces leading the charge. The promulgation of these laws does not seem to have guaranteed the safety and freedom of journalists to do their work,” said Mr. Avle.
Research by the Media Foundation for West Africa shows that there were 72 incidents of media freedom violations between January 2016 and October 2020 in Ghana.
These violations include the killing of a member of Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Tiger Eye team member, Ahmed Suale, physically assaulting journalists, arrest/detention and seizure/damage of equipment.
Mr. Avle was disappointed that a substantial number of these attacks were carried out by security agencies.
“The irony of the matter is that of the 72 violations, 30 or a startling 41% were committed by security agencies. These agents of the state, who are supposed to protect citizens and defend their rights are rather the ones perpetuating these violations against media practitioners and media houses. This is not only disappointing but very worrying.”
The ‘Kronti ne Akwamu’ Lecture is CDD-Ghana’s flagship annual public lecture on democracy and governance.
It is one of the Center’s initiatives which seeks to bridge the gap between ideas, research and analysis on one hand, and pro-democracy and good governance advocacy on the other.
It is thus, aimed at enriching the quality of public discourse on democratic and governance reforms.