The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has hitten hard at the Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, for describing the media blackout of New Patriotic Party Members of Parliament (MPs) as an act of “impunity”.
According to Albert Dwumfour, the NMC chairman, failed to do due diligence on the matter before rushing to speak on the blackout for Fisheries Minister Hawa Koomson and Farouk Aliu Mahama, the MP for Yendi, over their separate assaults on journalists.
Madam Hawa, who doubles as the MP for Awutu Senya East was blacklisted due to an alleged attack on a journalist during the NPP’s parliamentary aspirants’ vetting in Cape Coast.
The GJA instructed the various media organizations in the country to blacklist the Yendi MP, for assaulting Citi News’ Northern Regional Reporter, Mohammed Aminu M. Alabira.
Farouk Mahama and his team, unleashed mayhem on Alabira, while he was covering the chaos that disrupted the NPP’s parliamentary primary in the Yendi constituency on January 27, 2024.
The Northern Regional Police command, is currently investigating the issue, the EC has declared the election as inconclusive, while the ruling party is yet to consider a re-run of the polls.
While condemning assaults on journalists, the NMC chairman described the GJA’s directive as “dysfunctional and unproductive” to the public interest and advocated for the utilization of legal avenues to combat such acts of impunity against journalists.
Mr Ayeboafo, who himself had attempted going to Parliament to represent the people of the Afigya-Sekyere West on the NPP ticket a couple times, but failed, made these remarks during an election reporting workshop for journalists organized by the GJA and the US Embassy Ghana Elections 2024 Project in Kumasi.
“Let me turn my attention to the recent violent, vile attacks on journalists for exercising their primary obligation of informing our people.
This has resulted in the equally unilateral decision of the GJA in calling for a boycott of a blackout or blacklist of such people.
While the approach is popular, it is dysfunctional. I still hold the position that while it is disheartening for journalists to be attacked violently, the unilateral resolve to black out or boycott the MPs is not the most productive reaction.
“We cannot fight impunity with impunity. I will support any efforts to ensure that justice is done against all such deviant acts, rather than blackout or boycott. We must follow the rule of law and due process,” he asserted.
President of GJA, Albert Dwumfour in response, expressed disappointment in the comments of the NMC’s Chair and insisted that the GJA, exhausted all relevant law institutions before going ahead with the directive.
“We see this situation, the media itself, as abnormal, and in abnormal situations, you don’t need dysfunctional or functional minds to treat abnormal situations. You deal with it abnormally, and that is the position of the GJA. I’m utterly shocked that no other person came here to use our platform to chastise us than the NMC Chair.
“He’s a senior journalist and a veteran he didn’t take his time to even ascertain from us what informed the decision, he hasn’t communicated to us. And he just came here to say it’s just dysfunctional?
He couldn’t give us functional ways to solve it, and he has run away. “It’s unfortunate.
The NMC, has abandoned its core mandate, and you come and say this because you are heading a state institution, you come and disagree with the entire media body. The system has failed us, the system is not working.”
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