The United Press for Development Network has accused government officials, the police and political party partisans for the numerous attacks against journalists throughout 2018. The news comes on the heels of several clashes between party members and reporters including the assault against Joy News’ Parker Wilson from a member of former President John Mahama’s security detail in October.
“Impunity for crimes against journalists has literally become the order of the day. Despite the several reported incidents of violations against journalists, punishment of perpetrators has been very rare, if any at all,” a UPDN press statement reads.
According to the organization, the brutal attacks stem from “deteriorating conditions” of media personnel safety throughout the country. Ghana hosting World Press Freedom Day in May was not enough to curb the threats and attacks against journalists, UPDN says.
In August, Ghanaian undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas nearly escaped death in Malawi for unveiling dozens of headless corpses stemming from the country’s dicey ritual practices. And in May, police officers brutally attacked Joy News’ Latif Iddris for covering protests in support of Koku Anyidoho, the NDC’s former Deputy General Secretary who was being detained on treason charges.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Ghana takes first place among all African countries and 23rd in the world to support press freedom, but in some instances, journalists become targets of intimidation and abuse.
“Any reporting critical of the authorities tends to get a poor reception in sub-Saharan Africa,” reads an analysis on RSF’s website. “The departure of some of the continent’s worst press freedom predators could open the way to a new era for journalism in the countries concerned.”
UPDN is calling on President Akufo-Addo’s government to address the issue as the country heads into a new year. Attention from the current administration, the organization says, will improve the safety conditions of the country’s journalists.
“This culture of impunity for crimes against journalists only emboldens perpetrators and encourages others to abuse journalists,” UPDN says, adding that government attention will “mount more pressure to curb this evil and disgraceful canker.”