Asafotufiami Fallout: ‘Banning’ of Radio Ada is an affront to Press Freedom- GJA

 

 

Story by: Ishmael Barfi

 

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has described the decision of the Ada Traditional Council to ban a local-abased radio, Radio Ada and three of it’s hosts from this year’s Asafotufiami festival is an act of abuse of their press freedom.

According to the President of the Association, Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, the decision of the Ada Traditional Council is an affront to press freedom as quaranteed in Article 21(1)(a) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

He further explained that, though the Association appreciates the concerns of Neneme especially what the Traditional Council described as “unrefined language” used to address them by programme hosts of the radio, the imposition of restrictions on the radio station and its reporters is unjustifiable.

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Kwabena Dwumfour made these statements in a press conference held in Accra to address the decision of the Ada Traditional Council to ban Radio Ada from covering  this year’s Asafotufiami.

“The Ada Traditional Council does not have the right or powers to impose such restrictions on Radio Ada and its staff” he emphasized.

Adding that, “We also consider the barring of the three reporters of Radio Ada from wearing the paraphernalia of the radio station and particularly the mention of their names, a threat to their lives and that of their family.

With regards to the above, he advised that, there is the need to be mindful of how such public disclosure of names of journalists had led to the killing of such journalists and should refrain from such actions.

Touching on the complaint filed by the Ada Traditional Council at the National Media Commission (NMC) against Radio Ada for professional miscondut, he commended the Council for such steps because that is one of the appropriate forums to seek redress on such matters.

However,  he indicated that, the Ada Traditional Council violated the rules on complaint settlement of the NMC per the imposition of restrictions on the radio station and its reporters.

“Section 13(2) of the National Media Commission Act, 1993 (Act 449) provides: “A person who has lodged a complaint with the Commission shall, unless he withdraws the complaint, exhaust all avenues available for settling the issue by the Commission before a recourse to the courts”, he stated.

Adding that, since the complaint by the Ada Traditional Council is still pending, and has not been withdrawn, the Council violated the NMC rules of engagement for complaint settlement by constituting itself into a traditional court to punish the radio station and its staff.

The stand of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) the President explained is as a result of fact finding team sent to Ada where the two parties were engaged to have a first hand information on the issue to beeter inform the Association on the way forward.

The GJA delegation interacted with staff of Radio Ada and persons close to the Ada Traditional Council to And so we have a good appreciation of the issues.

Since its establishment 24 years ago, Radio Ada has covered Asafotufiami every year and always accorded prominent place and space to mount its outside broadcast equipment at the festival grounds.

But this year, for the first time in its history, Radio Ada was denied its status at the celebration of Asafotufiami.

The blacklisting of the radio station started with the Ada Traditional Council not inviting Radio Ada for the coverage of the official launch of the festival at Treasure Island, Ada, on June 30, 2022.

On July 14, 2022, the management of the radio station wrote to the ‘Ada Asafotufiami Planning Committee 2022’ to draw its attention to what it believed to be the “inadvertent omission to the regular protocol of the planning committee”.

The management followed up on its letter with a delegation to meet the Ada Traditional Council on August 1, 2022, to further discuss the matter. According to officials of the radio station, the outcome of the meeting with the Ada Traditional Council was positive.

However, the Ada Traditional Council followed up with a letter to the radio station dated August 1, 2022, delivering the Council’s decision to place restrictions on Radio Ada as follows:

  1. “Radio Ada will not be allowed to mount a stage at Ada Asafotufiami Park
  2. Neneme will not grant interviews to journalists from Radio Ada.
  3. Noah Dameh, Serwah Warri and Amanor Dzeagu who happen to be hosts of programmes with unrefined language towards Neneme are not to be seen at the park in Radio Ada paraphernalia.”

 

Indeed, in our fact-finding mission, persons close to the Ada Traditional Council expressed deep concern about the use of “insulting” and “disrespectful” language by programme hosts of Radio Ada against Neneme.

They cited the regular practice of the reporters mentioning the names of Neneme without according them their titles.

Source: www.thenewindependentonline.com

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