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The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has intensified calls for the arrest and prosecution of killers of slain investigative journalist, Ahmed Suale of Tiger Eye Private Investigation fame.
The call comes as the country joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s International Day to end impunity for crimes against journalists.
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Roland Affail Monney, opined that the surest way to end attacks on journalists and repose public confidence in the security forces was to bring perpetrators of the crime to book.
He said this at a Forum orgnaised by the GJA together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
According to him, Ghana was a reference point and standard measure for free speech and media freedom in Africa and therefore, ought to ensure that it protects journalists so they execute their duties with confidence.
He explained that “Given President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s fidelity to the rule of law and affinity for the media, we are inclined to believe that the arrest will eventually happen and prosecution will naturally follow.”
This, according to Mr Monney would be “The strongest antidote for the cancerous spread of the impunity in Ghana.”
The Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), George Sarpong said it was important for killers of Suale to be found and dealt with in accordance with the law.
He said that “The death of Ahmed and everybody else who has suffered any kind of atrocities in this profession will inspire us to fight on.”
Mr Sarpong said the day was not only a ceremony but a “Commitment to a greater engagement that we will fight on to demand justice and accountability for anyone of us who is touched in their service to humanity as they seek to serve society through professional journalism.”
The UNESCO country representative, Abdourahamane Diallo underscored that journalists were pivotal in preserving the fundamental rights to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Therefore, “When journalists are affected with impunity, there is a breakdown in security and systems for all,” he said, adding that it is by “investigating and prosecuting crimes against media professionals that we can guarantee access to information and freedom of expression.”
Meanwhile, figures by UNESCO indicates that between 2010 and 2019, close to 900 journalists were killed while doing their job, with more than 150 of those killings recorded in the last two years.
UNESCO also reports that many of those journalists lost their lives while covering conflicts, adding that some were also being killed for investigating issues such as corruption and political wrongdoing, trafficking, human rights violations and environmental issues.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed November 2 to be marked annually as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ to commemorate the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on November 2, 2013.
During this day, UN Member States were reminded to institute measures to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.
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