The Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) is demanding swift action against some supporters of the Head Pastor of the Glorious Word Power Ministries International, Rev Isaac Owusu Bempah who attacked journalists and prevented them from entering the courtroom during the arraignment of the controversial Rev and three others on Monday, 13 September 2021.
With brazen impunity, well- muscled men of the church reportedly prevented the court reporters from gaining access to the room to perform their legitimate duty and visited mayhem on those who dared them.
“With all the vehemence it can muster,” the GJA in a statement condemned the latest desecration of the rights of journalists and affront of press freedom and is demanding swift justice against “the uncouth men of Owusu Bempah.”
The GJA said it welcomes the apology of the Police administration and assurance of future protection for journalists, but it holds the view that the timely gesture of the rebranded Ghana Police does not and should not absolve the offenders from tasting the biting edge of the law as articulated by Article 17(1) of the Constitution which says “no one is above the law.”
Citing instances where the rights of journalists have been abused, the GJA recalled that on Friday, March 15, 2019, Owusu Bempah stormed the premises of Radio XYZ in the company of four-gun wielding thugs in search of a radio presenter at the station. In the process, the administrator and staff of the station were molested but nothing punitive happened to Owusu Bempah.
Also, on December 13, 2018, the same man of God had apparently been driven by red hot anger to vandalize equipment at Hot FM. He walked a free man thereafter.
The GJA noted that it is needless to note that “Owusu Bempah and his followers did and said anything with careless abandon and naked impunity until the air of untouchability surrounding them was punctured with the latest arrest.”
While the trial travels its full throttle, the GJA has urged the law and order community not to allow the latest attacks against journalists to be overshadowed by the dominant case or swept under the carpet.
“Justice must manifestly and expeditiously be done the victims to amplify the message that no one is indeed above the law,” the statement said.
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