Three media associations have called on government to restructure the Ministry of National Security to factor in professional recruitment policies in line with international standards.
A statement signed by the leadership of the associations – the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), and Private Newspaper Printers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), expressed worry over the continued brutalities on journalists by National Security operatives.
“The media is an indispensable partner in the development of the country as well as the consolidation of democracy while holding government to account,” it said. “Any attempt to cow them to stay away from carrying out these duties should be condemned in no uncertain terms.”
“We condemn in no uncertain terms the approach of the National Security operatives in the unwarranted use of force and intimidatory tactics against the Citi FM journalists even if the actions of the journalists in question raises concerns for the security services,” the statement said.
It said the continuous invasion of media houses by the National Security operatives must stop and condemned the “seizure and deletion of journalistic and any other material on any recording device without court orders.”
“We demand an immediate and unqualified apology from the National Security Secretariat to the Management and staff of Citi FM/TV and to the entire media for the havoc, panic and trauma caused them.”
“We recommend an independent inquiry to establish and recommend punishment for anybody found culpable in this incident.”
The statement said GIBA, PRINPAG and the GJA and the entire media in Ghana were ready to partner the security agencies to advance the course of the country and its development.
It said but for the collaboration to be effective, it was important for the security agencies to be oriented on the intricacies in the journalism practice, one of which was to employ in some cases, subterfuge and unorthodox means of gathering information, if same was is in the supreme national interest.
The associations recommended an immediate roundtable discussion between the top hierarchy of the security agencies, the National Media Commission and civil society organisations on such attacks.
The findings and recommendations from the Committee of Enquiry set up by the Ministry of National Security and the Complaints Settlement Committee of the National Media Commission should be implemented with utmost urgency to give meaning to the country’s maxim as a land of freedom and justice, the statement said.