Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has called for the police and judicial service to be held accountable for attacks on journalists.

According to him, the safety of journalists is non-negotiable, indicating that journalism is not a crime, but rather an important national service required for the growth of democracy.

“This will go a long way to deepen our democracy and strengthen our society’s efforts to improve the safety of journalists in Ghana,” the Minister said in Parliament.

He was briefing the House on efforts by the government to improve the safety of journalists during which he urged the state to invest more resources, advocate for support, and strengthen collaboration for journalists.

Mr. Nkrumah said the phenomenon of attacks and intimidation of journalists is gaining notoriety in the country, and noted that data available to the Ministry of Information suggested that the trend was increasing.

“Increasingly, various actors in our society – state actors, non-state actors, political parties’ operatives, assigns of businesses and everyday citizens are resorting to attacks and intimidation of journalists as a means of expressing their displeasure,” he pointed.

This, he said, is despite the fact that the freedom of the press is a cornerstone of the country’s democracy, and “the protection of those who contribute to the free flow of information should be of paramount importance to us all.”

According to him, in 2012, the United Nations introduced a plan of action on the safety of journalists, noting that, “it requires a multi-stakeholder approach, involving all the actors at the global and country level, to comprehensively address the three Ps.”

He explained that the Ps stand for Prevention of violence against journalists, Protection of journalists in danger, and Prosecution of the perpetrators.

He said the coordinated mechanism on the safety of journalists had chalked minimal success since its inception.

“Under its advocacy function, the office conducted training sessions in 2019 for journalists in the Northern Region,” the Minister posited.

He also stated that his ministry has engaged the Judicial Service, urging for harsh punishment for people who abuse journalists and media organisations.

“Among others, in 2022 the Ministry in collaboration with UNESCO, organised a 3-day workshop with 25 judges on freedom of expression and safety of journalists in line with international norms and regional standards and in our opinion, it was useful,” he said.

By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House

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