The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) says it is unacceptable and an affront to press freedom for the Ada Traditional Council to ban Radio Ada from covering the Asafotufiami festival.
The President of the Association, Mr. Albert Kwabena Dwunfour said so when he addressed the media in Accra yesterday.
He said the Traditional Ada Council had no right or power to impose such restrictions on Radio Ada and its staff.
“We consider the prohibition imposed on the three Radio Ada reporters to wear radio accessories and in particular the mention of their names, a threat to their lives and those of their families”.
“We must be aware of how such public disclosure of the names of journalists has led to the murder of these journalists and we must refrain from such actions. We believe that one of the main meanings of festivals is to take advantage of the opportunity to foster peace, unity and unity objective among the people to promote the development of the community,” he said.
According to him, the Traditional Ada Council filed a complaint with the National Media Commission (NMC) against Radio Ada for misconduct and the use of “foul language” by the radio.
However, he said, the Council breached the NMC’s complaints resolution rules by imposing restrictions on the radio station and its journalists, stating that section 13(2) of the the National Media Commission (Law 449) provides .
“A person who has lodged a complaint with the Commission must, unless he withdraws his complaint, exhaust all avenues for the settlement of the matter by the Commission before recourse to the courts”.
Mr. Dwumfour said that since the Council’s complaint was pending and had not been withdrawn, the Council had therefore violated the NMC’s rules of engagement for the resolution of complaints, by setting itself up as a traditional tribunal to punish the radio station and its staff.
He called on the Ada Traditional Council not to take justice into their own hands but to strive to use due process to address their concerns and refrain from actions that tended to endanger life. of the radio station and its staff.
Mr. Dwumfour also advised Radio Ada and its staff to refrain from using insulting or objectionable language in the performance of their duties by demonstrating high professional standards at all times.
“We would like to encourage both the Traditional Ada Council and the management of Radio Ada to find amicable solutions to resolve their differences. We urge them to see themselves as partners in development and to work together to promote development in the region. The GJA is interested in seeing peace restored between the Traditional Ada Council and Radio Ada,” he said.
He said the GJA had discussed the case of Ada Radio with the Ghana Police Service who had given full protection to Radio Ada staff to enable them to go about their normal business.
He was optimistic that calm would soon return to Ada so that development also finds space in the country through the vent provided by the media.