The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) says it is frustrated by the lack of progress made in bringing persons who slayed investigative journalist, Ahmed Hussein Saule, to book two years after the incident.
Mrs. Linda Asante-Agyei, Vice President of the GJA, who made the statement, said the incident remained a bloat on Ghana’s image as a beacon of democracy and a champion of press freedom on the continent.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day in Accra on Tuesday, the GJA Vice President, called on the security apparatus to expedite investigations into the murder to bring the perpetrators to justice and offer respite to the family of the journalist.
The World Press Freedom Day is marked on May 3 each year by the United Nations UNESCO and various international groups, to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right of freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Mrs. Asante-Agyei said World Press Freedom Day must serve as a constant reminder to governments and the governed, as well as civil society organisations of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and defend it as an indispensable tool for the advancement of freedom and justice and development.
“The day should be used to celebrate all those who have made contributions to the development of press freedom and to remember those who have suffered injuries or lost their life in their line of duty as media professionals or in defence of press freedom.
“It is for that reason that we on this day remember again Ahmed Hussein Suale, who was shot and killed in cold blood on January 16, 2019. The perpetrators of this heinous crime have still not be found,” she added.
She said there was an urgent need for the murderers to be brought to justice to assure journalists and media practitioners of their safety.
This year’s event was commemorated under the theme: “30 Years after the Windhoek Declaration: Information as a Public Good.”
Mr Ahmed Hussein Suale was murdered by unknown assailants in January 16, 2019.
Ghana maintained its 30th position globally on the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. Despite this, it remains the lowest attained by the country.
The country is, however, ranked 2nd in Africa after Namibia.
According to Reporters without Boarders, this was largely due to insecurity, and continuous threat on the lives of media practitioners in their line of duty.
Mr. Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, Chairman of the National Media Commission said the Commission, together with UNESCO and the Ministry of Information was establishing an office that would see to the safety of journalists.
He urged journalists to abhor all forms of false publications: “Anyone who sees himself as contributing to the public good would always make sure that they do not peddle falsehood, that they do not concoct, that they do not lie because a journalist is forbidden to lie because if you lie about your neighbour it can kill him and that is the reason why people say that the pen is mightier than the sod.”
Mr. Diallo Abdourahamane, UNESCO Representative to Ghana urged the media to be circumspect in their reportage to ensure national cohesion and development.
He called on the GJA to take advantage of the outbreak of the COVID-19 to update its code of ethics to meet the challenges of reporting on pandemics.
Ms. Stephanie Sullivan, the United States Ambassador to Ghana reaffirmed the Embassy’s commitment to work hand-in-hand with the country to uphold a free, responsible and protective media as an essential part of a thriving democracy.