President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has cautioned
media personnel who exhibit “breezy disregard for ethical values” to
desist from such acts.
According to Affail Monney, journalists who are “consumed with
incontinent ego and surfeited with prideful arrogance” must know that
press freedom is a liberty and not a license to destroy.
He said the abuse of office by pressmen together with the inability
of various authorities to arrest and prosecute perpetrators who attack
journalists are some of the reasons for the drop in Ghana’s ranking when
it comes to press freedom.
He was addressing media personnel at a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate World Press Freedom Day in Accra, Monday.
“From the Honours List, we zoom in on the global league table of free
media systems to examine quickly the causal factors of Ghana’s
decline- 23rd in 2018, 27th in 2019 and 30th in 2020.
“The common thread which runs through our backsliding is impunity.
Impunity, if not checked, ignites a self-propelling and re- energizing
cycle which then becomes hellishly difficult to uproot.
“A pesky call, therefore, goes to the authorities to deal surgically
with the calcifying cancer of impunity by prosecuting and punishing, to
the fullest extent within the law, perpetrators of attacks against
journalists regardless of their material wealth, social status or
“This is the least action expected in a country touted for its fidelity to the rule of law and not the rule of men,” he said.
Even at the 30th position, Mr Monney said the country’s
media system is “well at the optimistic end of the spectrum, as it has
been adjuded as satisfactory by global benchmark and outranking paragons
of journalism like US, UK and France.
“This , however, should not give room for any narcotic feeling of
complacency. Rather, we must take all steps and move all out to salvage
our achievements in media freedom and functional democracy,” he
While commending the role of the media in the fight against the
Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Monney also celebrated fallen heroes in the media
“In an increasingly complex media landscape ignited by citizens right
to the use of social media, the importance of the traditional media,
and the need for an all-absorbing attention to reliable and accurate
news has become more paramount.
“As the virus rages, we couldn’t but agree more with UN Secretary
General Antonio Guterres that “the second pandemic of misinformation
from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories” that have
unfortunately accompanied the global fight against the virus can only be
waged effectively by the media with “verified, scientific, fact-based
news and analysis’.
“While we all feel the devastating impact of the pandemic, UNESCO
offers a glimmer of hope to the media. It says the unprecedented health
crisis has the potential to rebuild trust in the profession.” he
This year’s celebration is under the theme: “Journalism without Fear
or Favour” but has also been broken down into three sub-themes including
“Safety of Women and Men Journalists and Media Workers”, “Independence
and Professional Journalism Free from Political and Commercial
Influence’ and “Gender Equality in All Aspects of the Media”.