Ghanaian journalists, especially those at the forefront of the country’s fight against illegal small scale mining, popularly known as galamsey, are under threat, the Ghana Journalists Association claims.
According to the Association, there have “reports of threats against its members and media practitioners, particularly those in the Central, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions” noting “have vowed to ‘teach the journalists a lesson'”.
“The GJA views the threats as a blatant slap in the face of press freedom and therefore highly unacceptable,” it said in a statement issued Thursday.
It noted the threats to the journalists were the results of their exposes of the destructive activities in the galamsey endemic areas across the country.
Push to end galamsey
The galamsey menace has caused wanton destruction to properties in the country, including cocoa farms, vegetable plantation and considerable damage to the landscape. It has also caused grievous damage and irreparable destruction to water bodies across the country.
The nature of the situation caused the Akufo-Addo government to revive a national fight against galamsey, which has put in force a six-month ban on small scale mining in the country.
Civil society groups among others, including the media, have since the revival of the fight been at the forefront pushing for illegal mining to be phased out and small scale mining regulated religiously.
But the GJA claims its members in the fight are now being targeted especially on the back of the gruesone murder of a military officer, whose death is being linked to the fight against galamsey.
Security of journalists
“Coming on the heels of the horrendous murder of Captain Maxwell Mahama at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region, the GJA believes that one does not need any superfluity of security intelligence to conclude that similar fate or something tragic can befall the journalists, especially those who fetch stories in the heart of the galamsey enclaves if nothing concrete is done to protect them,” it indicated.
It has thus appealed to the security agencies, especially the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of Defense Staff to “act with urgent promptitude” and provide maximum security to journalists and other individuals at the forefront of the galamsey fight.
Meanwhile, the GJA wants journalists on the field to heighten their sense of security and avoid situations which would expose them to life -threatening risks.
“They should be refused to be intimidated or cowed to soften their stand on illegal mining which spells existential danger to this nation,” the GJA urged.
It has also commended media houses, practitioners and the Media Coalition Against Galamsey for their efforts which it described as audacious and tenacious.