The Executive Director of the Media for West Africa Foundation (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah has attributed the rising incidents of violence against journalists as well as the impunity of the perpetrators to the attitude of state leadership in the country.
According to him, the attitude and response of President Akufo-Addo to recent acts of violence against the media has been abysmal.
His comments come on the back of business magnate, Sam Jonah’s claim that the “culture of silence” was actively being perpetrated during a speech at a Rotary Club function.
Sulemana Braimah commenting on Sam Jonah’s claim said the Akufo-Addo government was doing little to nothing to fight rising impunity in the country.
He said, “What is important is the attitude of the leadership of the country when these things happen. I was really, really surprised and saddened when the President said, I think in 2019 or 2020 at the Bar conference in Takoradi, that the incident involving Ahmed Suale should not be related to press freedom and making reference to the fact that when the Member of Parliament was murdered, nobody saw it as an attack on the legislature.
“I think that was a very sad thing because many of us were expecting to hear from the President what his personal position is in terms of the impunity that has characterized the murder of Ahmed Suale.”
He added that “Again, the important point is when these acts of crime and acts of repression are committed, what is the attitude shown by the leadership of the country to demonstrate that it is not something that they endorse, it is not something that they support.
“In any case, in any serious country, based on what Kennedy Agyapong did, antecedent to the murder of Ahmed Suale, and I’m not saying that he sponsored it or he knows about it, but certainly what he did prior to the murder of Ahmed Suale in any serious country, we would have seen serious and thorough investigations, queries.
“Ken would have been arrested, detained and so on and so forth. But because he belongs to the government, because he belongs to Parliament, because he is rich, because he is powerful, not a single thing happened.”
According to the Executive Director of the MFWA, the lack of commitment to fight impunity from the state is a major contributor to the increasing violence against journalists, anti-corruption fighters, and dissenters etc.
“In fact over the last four years we have documented over 56 incidents of attacks on journalists – none – we don’t have any serious evidence of any serious act on the part of the state to demonstrate its commitment to fighting impunity except maybe the case of Ohema Sakyiwaa where Multimedia group decided to pursue the matter and eventually got justice in the court.”
He said should the attitude of the state not change for the better, the impunity will persist and the culture of silence will remain.