From the mouth of babes: Is this freedom? 


I am not a huge fan of quotes, but there is this particular quote by Thomas Jefferson that interests me a lot. “No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact that man may be governed by decision and truth.

“Our first object should therefore be to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up to those who fear the investigation of their actions.”

Think about losing a husband or a wife to assault in their line of work as a Journalist. How will that make you feel? Will you be angry at that particular media house for not protecting him or her? What about the National Media Commission (NMC), the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Police, and government. Will you despise them?

Practising journalism in Ghana is becoming scarier as days go by. Why is this so? The assault on journalists keeps on increasing. To my readers who have no idea what assault means, let me help you understand it. To assault means to physically inflict harm or attack a person. This act is often intentional.

A journalist is also someone who professionally investigates, collects and presents information as a news story through magazines, television, radio, newspaper and the Internet.

The rate at which journalists in Ghana are attacked is gradually becoming unbearable. Journalists are beaten, equipment taken from them, and sadly enough, some journalists like Ahmed Hussein of Tiger Eye Private Investigation (2019); George Abanga of Success FM (2015); Samuel Enin of Ash FM in the Ashanti Region (2007) have lost their lives.

Why is this so? Are journalists not finding answers for the same society attacking them? Or is it a crime to serve and uphold the name of Ghana? These and many more are questions I ask myself anytime I enter my Journalism Class. Sometimes my heart beats faster when I think about graduating and working as a journalist in Ghana.

The recent attack on the Director of News for Angel Broadcasting Network (ABN), Kofi Adoma Nwanwani, on Saturday, August 6, 2022 at the Ashongman Village in Accra, according to a report by breaks my heart.

Chapter 12, Article 162 clauses 1 and 4 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana read:

  1. Freedom and Independence of the Media are hereby guaranteed.
  2. Editors and Publishers of Newspaper and other institutions of mass media shall not be subject to control or interference by Government nor shall they be penalised or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications.

If this Freedom and Independence are given by the constitution of the country, why then are journalists attacked? Why are they murdered? Why are their equipment taken away and destroyed? These and many more are questions that will forever live on.

Freedom and Independence of the media must be strengthened, and punishment for perpetrators should go beyond regular fines and short prison sentences. The NMC, GJA, CPJ and Police are doing their best to curb the attacks by urging journalists not to keep quiet but report assaults.

Walter Cronkite once said: “Freedom of the Press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy”.

>>>the writer is a student of journalism at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). Email [email protected]

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