Former President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Affail Monney, has condemned recent attacks on journalists in the country by some political parties.
According to him, the Ghanaian media remains the “oxygen of our democracy”, and must be treated as such. He revealed that the invasion of alleged NPP thugs at UTV, and the assault of Citi TV’s journalist by NDC persons must not be handled with a soft grip.
Mr Monney insisted that the courts and judges who preside over such cases must equally deploy tough verdicts on the perpetrators.
“Why do you turn your guns on the very people who get our democracy ticking and ensure that all others enjoy their fundamental human rights? So now, attacks against journalists are not only an attack against the media, but it’s also an attack against the very soul of this nation.
“As we speak, the soul of this nation is still bleeding from the attacks perpetrated by the thugs which invaded UTV. So, we are also watching what will pan out with the thugs who invaded NDC primaries at their party headquarters. The courts should show that they’re deeply concerned about attacks against journalists…”Affail Monney
Elaborating on the political attacks on journalists, Mr Monney stated that most people have come to the “conclusion that NDC, NPP are the same”. He highlighted that “fate has a way of exposing the two parties”.
“We have a long way to go in punishing perpetrators of attacks against journalists in their line of duty. I also listened with disbelief; the fines imposed on the thug who invaded UTV… It was a slap on the wrist. So, the hearts of evangelists of press freedom, and apostles of democracy are bleeding profusely from what the court did.
“Again, it reinforces the perception that we are not serious in dealing surgically with this issue of attacks against journalists, and it’s democracy which suffers at the end of it all. The media is engrained in theory and rooted in practice that democracy is impossible without the media…”Affail Monney
Former GJA President condemns Akufo-Addo’s Mepe comments
Meanwhile, reacting to the controversial comment by President Akufo-Addo during his visit to flood devastated Mepe on October 16, 2023, where he stated that his presence was to commiserate with the victims, “because, if it is a question of counting who votes for me and who doesn’t vote for me, then I shouldn’t be here”, Mr Monney described the comments as unnecessary.
He noted that although the President cautioned against “politicization of disaster”, he came “across as someone who is doing politics”.
“… He said the people in the area did not vote for him, I’m still wondering what informed the decision to raise this issue of people in the area who are against his party and all that. I think he should have gone straight to announcing the relief measures he had for that area, instead of referring to politics…”Affail Monney
Furthermore, Mr Monney explained that as he listened attentively to the President’s comments, he was trying to “square the tone of the message and the substance of the message”. With this, he emphasized that he came to the conclusion that the President shouldn’t have raised political issues.
“We all know that Volta region is predominantly NDC, and the truth of the matter, it’s not enough justification for saying it. Even though it is true, what’s the point in saying it at that time?”Affail Monney
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has criticized the voting comment made by President Akufo-Addo.
Mr Ablakwa indicated that this is not the time to talk about who votes for which party and who does not vote because the people are currently faced with a humanitarian crisis.
“I do not think that this is the time to be talking about votes, this is a humanitarian crisis, people have been submerged, entire communities have been submerged under the water and the VRA continues to spill…”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa