The Government of Ghana has charged the National Media Commission (NMC) to be professional and independent on matters of assaults on Journalists that come before them.
According to the government, it is committed to the culture of free media in Ghana.
Speaking at the commissioning of the office for the Coordinated Mechanism on the safety of Journalists in Accra, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said "It is the reason I cannot agree that there is a culture of silence in Ghana because the government is committed to the culture of free media in Ghana. I call on the National Media Commission to be professional and independent on matters that come before the office"
He further charged journalists to take advantage of the facility in addressing pressing issues on their safety.
The Minister who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ofoase Ayirebi also mentioned that it is the big wish of the government for the facility and its operations will grow beyond what it is today and be replicated in other regions.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah lauded his former deputy minister for Information, Pious Enam Hadzide among others for walking the journey in making the office a reality.
In an exclusive interview with Thinknewsonline.com, Vice-President of the Ghana Journalist Association, Linda Asante-Agyei said "I am happy that today we have our own office. We have indeed suffered enough. This office will help us gather enough reliable data in terms of attacks on us. Previously, it used to be phone calls and that made it difficult to keep records"
She, however, appealed to journalists to desist from broadcasting attacks on media personnel on their various airwaves.
"This is a new chapter, we are starting so it is always better to live to tell the story than you being the story to be told. As you step out to cover a program or gather information for your story, ensure that you are well protected"
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), Geroge Sarpong said "The key stakeholders have come together to set up this office to protect you. Henceforth, if anything happens to you, please let us know, let us work together to protect you but beyond what happens to journalists, we also want to help them to avoid these"
He hinted that no case is dead on the part of the NMC adding that the new office will be looking into cases of media personnel who were man-handed and assaulted in their line of duty.
"If you attack a journalist in response to his work, we will come at you" he warned.
UNESCO's representative to Ghana, Abdourahamane Diallo lauded the government for the office adding that he is confident all complaints reported will be dealt with accordingly.
On her part, Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service Supt. Sheila Kessie Abayie -Buckman said "We are here this evening to plead the commitment of Police Administration and the Inspector General of Police to the safety of Journalists"
She hinted that even within the police service's small space, they try to have police-media relations and safety of journalists in Ghana which shows their commitment.
Thinknewsonline.com has gathered that the office will become the source for filing complaints of attacks on journalists, validating alleged attacks, following up on investigations and sanctions, and reporting on the safety of journalists. Cabinet approved the framework for safety in 2020 after the Ministry of Information submitted a memo to its effect.
The National Media Commission has been tasked to be the independent operator of the office as part of its efforts to promote the industry.
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Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith