The President of the Ghana Journalist Association, Mr Albert Dwumfour, has said the nation’s development thrives on the right to free expression hence the need to ensure that it was not infringed upon.
He made the statement at the World Press Freedom Day celebration at the Press Center on Wednesday on the theme: ‘Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all other human Rights.’
He said to ensure that free speech was protected, journalists who are the leaders of free speech, needed to receive all the support they needed to carry out their duties without hindrance.
Due to this, he said the GJA has established the Journalist Support Fund (JSF) to provide legal services to journalists whose rights have been violated while performing their duties, as well as assist in providing training and seminars on safety and security to members to improve their safety, security and support retirees.
The GJA president disclosed that the Association would inaugurate the ‘see something, say something’ initiative to encourage citizens to volunteer information about individuals who plan to attack or have already attacked journalists.
That, he said, would substantially contribute to the reduction of assaults on journalists and also empower citizens at the local level to ensure accountability and transparency.
Mr Dwumfour said when freedom of speech was jealously guarded, there would be no fear or panic because people would go about their duties without looking over their shoulders, adding that Ghana’s democracy would flourish if individuals could freely express their opinions.
He called on the media not to entertain politicians or individuals who poison the atmosphere with intemperate and provocative remarks as the election season approaches but rather perform their professional roles while keeping the country’s peace in mind.
Mr Dwumfour said the Association was committed to promoting professional standards in the media and urged journalists and media houses to uphold the highest level of integrity and professionalism, adding that the Association would not hesitate to call out any journalist or media organization that violates professional ethics and standards.
Edem Agblevor, ISD