The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, appears to be on a collision course with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on their directive to blacklist two Members of Parliament accused of attacking journalists in the line of duty.
The GJA declared a media blackout on the two MPs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mavis Hawa Koomson of Awutu Senya East and Farouk Aliu Mahama of Yendi following an assault on journalists during the recent parliamentary primaries of the party.
While condemning assaults on journalists, Mr Ayeboafo asserted that calls for boycott or blackout by the GJA would not be productive or functional to the public interest.
He made these remarks during an election reporting workshop for journalists organized by the GJA and the US Embassy Ghana Elections 2024 Project in Kumasi.
“Let me turn my attention to the recent violent, vile attacks on journalists for exercising their primary obligation of informing our people. This has resulted in the equally unilateral decision of the GJA in calling for a boycott of a blackout or blacklist of such people.
“While the approach is popular, it is dysfunctional. I still hold the position that while it is disheartening for journalists to be attacked violently, the unilateral resolve to black out or boycott the MPs is not the most productive reaction.
“We cannot fight impunity with impunity. I will support any efforts to ensure that justice is done against all such deviant acts, rather than blackout or boycott. We must follow the rule of law and due process,” he asserted.
However, in his rebuttal, the President of GJA, Albert Dwumfour, expressed disappointment in the comments of the NMC’s Chair and maintained that the GJA exhausted all relevant law institutions before going ahead with the directive.
“We see this situation, the media itself, as abnormal, and in abnormal situations, you don’t need dysfunctional or functional minds to treat abnormal situations. You deal with it abnormally, and that is the position of the GJA. I’m utterly shocked that no other person came here to use our platform to chastise us than the NMC Chair.
“He’s a senior journalist and a veteran, he didn’t take his time to even ascertain from us what informed the decision, he hasn’t communicated to us. And he just came here to say it’s just dysfunctional? He couldn’t give us functional ways to solve it, and he has run away.
“It’s unfortunate. The NMC has abandoned its core mandate, and you come and say this because you are heading a state institution, you come and disagree with the entire media body. The system has failed us, the system is not working.”