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Restrictions on Radio Ada unjustifiable - GJA fires Ada Traditional Council

Albert Kwabena Dwumfour GJA President.jpeg GJA President, Albert Kwabena Dwumfour

Fri, 12 Aug 2022 Source: atinkaonline.com

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr. Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, has stated that the imposition of restrictions on Radio Ada and its reporters by the Ada Traditional Council is unjustifiable and an affront to press freedom.

His statement comes following the ban of the station and its reporters from covering the Asafotufiami, the festival of the Chiefs and People of the Ada Traditional Area which was held recently.

Since its establishment 24 years ago, Radio Ada has covered Asafotufiami every year, it is always accorded a 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.

According to the GJA President, the blacklisting of the radio station started with the Ada Traditional Council failing to invite Radio Ada for the coverage of the official launch of the festival at Treasure Island, Ada, on June 30, 2022.

He said 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”.

He continued that 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: That, the Radio Ada will not be allowed to mount a stage at Ada Asafotufiami Park, that Neneme will not grant interviews to journalists from Radio Ada and also that, 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.

GJA’s take

Speaking at a Press conference in Accra to address the issue, Mr. Albert Kwabena Dwumfour said upon hearing the news, he directed the General Secretary and the National Organising Secretary to go to Ada to gather firsthand information on the matter to better inform the GJA’s intervention.

He said the GJA delegation interacted with staff of Radio Ada and persons close to the Ada Traditional Council and therefore had a good appreciation of the issues at stake to inform its address.

He said in its 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.

He stated that they cited the regular practice of the reporters mentioning the names of Neneme without according them their titles and also inciting the people to hoot at Neneme and call them names during a demonstration.

Based on the above, Mr. Dwumfour said, “Whilst appreciating the concerns of Neneme as indicated above, especially what they described as ‘unrefined language’ used to address them by programme hosts of the radio station, the GJA believes the imposition of restrictions on the radio station and its reporters is unjustifiable. It is an affront to press freedom as guaranteed in Article 21(1)(a) and (f) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.”

With all due respect, Mr. Dwumfour stated that the Ada Traditional Council does not have the right or powers to impose such restrictions on Radio Ada and its staff.

“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.

"We should be mindful of how such public disclosure of names of journalists had led to the killing of such journalists and we should refrain from such actions.

"We believe one major significance of festivals is to use the occasion to foster peace, unity and oneness of purpose among the people to promote the development of the community. We also recognize the concept of community radio as being the rallying force for the promotion of the culture and socio-economic development of the host communities,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said the Ada Traditional Council had filed a complaint at the National Media Commission (NMC) against Radio Ada for professional misconduct and commended them for taking such steps because that is one of the appropriate forums to seek redress on such matters.

However, Mr Dwumfour said the Ada Traditional 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.

Source: atinkaonline.com