Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has urged judges in Ghana to punish severely persons who assault journalists in the line of their work in order to serve as a deterrent to others who contemplate doing same.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah indicated that the attacks in journalists embarrass the nation for which an action must be taken immediately against such acts.
He said these while speaking in Ho in the Volta Region at a training workshop for judges on the need to protect freedom of expression and safety of journalists, on Monday June 20.
The Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker said “My Lords, yes the wheels of justice may grind slowly but the feedback I have from my media colleagues is that we believe some quick punitive action, targeted at the perpetrators of infringement against media practitioners will be appreciated.
“It will be the strongest message to the next batch of state and nonstate actors who may even contemplate attacking media practitioner in the line of his work that it is not acceptable and more importantly, the court will severely punish you if you dare.
“It will be a message stronger than any admonition that anybody can give. If we want these acts which frankly, are a disgrace and an embarrassment to our democracy to stop, please punish these act with speed regardless of who commits them.”
Journalists in Ghana have over the years been subjected to all forms of physical attacks in the line of their work.
Recently, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) noted that a there has been an increase in physical violence against journalists is compounding the arrests.
For instance, Eric Nana Gyetuah, a reporter for Connect FM, a radio station based in the western city of Takoradi, was trying to film a group of detainees on 3 February when the police subjected him to an exceptionally violent assault before handcuffing him and taking him to police station. He is still hospitalised with injuries to the eyes and mouth, and a perforated ear drum.
This was the fifth time a journalist has been attacked in Ghana since the start of the year. In January, a reporter was attacked by a store manager in the western city of Sunyani, a reporter was attacked during a football match by supporters of one of the teams, and two journalists were injured when ten masked men attacked Radio Ada, a community radio 100 km east of Accra.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana