The Eastern Regional chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has refuted claims that a Ghanaian Times reporter was sacked and disallowed from joining the President’s Press corps at his tour in the region.Earlier reports suggested that media coverage of President Akufo-Addo tour of the Eastern Region was done at the behest of National Security in consultation with the Eastern Regional Communication wing of the New Patriotic Party.
A Journalist with Ghanaian Times Newspaper, Ama Takyiwa Ampadu, assigned to cover the President tour in the region was nearly thrown out of the media bus on Thursday by the Eastern Regional Communication Officer of the NPP, David Prah because she was not part of the media personnel okayed by the National Security and Office of the President.
Reacting to the report, GJA said the Ghanaian Times reporter and other journalists who couldn’t join the press corps bus weren’t sacked on purpose as earlier reported.
According to GJA, government’s communication team hinted them about the president’s visit and collaborated to invite 21 media houses within the region to cover the tour. But on the first day of the President’s visit, close to 50 media personnel came asking to join the bus meant for 21 media houses.
But upon careful deliberation, the Association drew the attention of handlers of the tour to security implications of overloading journalists and the possible risk attached.
It therefore decided to go strictly by the number of media houses invited for the tour of the second day, so claims that the journalist was sacked is untrue.
Read below the full statement
RE:GHANAIAN TIMES REPORTER SACKED AS NATIONAL SECURITY TAKES CHARGE OF PRESS CORPS SELECTION
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) - Eastern Region has taken notice of a Ghana Web publication dated 23/11/18 with the caption "Ghanaian Times Reporter Sacked as National Security Takes Charge of Press Corps Selection."
The story written without a bar-line sort to paint the Ghana Journalists Association - Eastern Region in a distasteful light.
The GJA - Eastern Region wishes to state that the story presented is shaded with half truth, inaccuracies and intent to draw leadership of the Association into unnecessary party politicking.
The GJA - Eastern Region is noted for championing the interest and safety of journalists and media and will continue to uphold that responsibility. Our records show.
It is worth noting that, the ER-GJA is NOT in bed with the NPP or the government.
The facts are that, the government communication team hinted the Association about the President's visit and we collaborated to invite 21 media houses within the region to cover the President's tour to the Eastern Region.
The media houses include; Daily Graphic, Ghana News Agency, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, TV3, Metro TV, Pan Africa Television, UtV, Citi News, Multimedia Group, Class FM, Top FM, Good Life FM, Eastern FM, Kingdom FM, Bryt Fm, Agoo FM, Obuoba FM, Radio One , Rite FM, Net 2 TV and Akyemansa FM from the Eastern Region.
Meanwhile, other members of the Presidential press corps were onboard from Accra.
On the first day of the President's visit, close to 50 media personnel came asking to join a vehicle meant for 21 media houses.
Government communication team complied and allowed ALL media houses present including gate crashers to join the bus on the first day of the tour.
The two media vans which were supposed to carry 14 passengers each ended up carrying about 24 passengers each plying on very rough roads in most parts of the region.
The Association drew the attention of handlers of the tour to the security implications of over-loading journalists and the possible risk attached. We requested for additional bus but it was too late to organize a third bus for the media.
Based on past experiences on transporting journalists on Presidential tours, organizers in consultation with the Association decided to go strictly by the number of media houses invited for the tour from the second day.
Indeed, some confrontations ensued between the Ghanaian Times reporter, Ama Takyiwaa Ampadu-Nyarko and Director of Communications for the NPP, David Prah, before the tour but it was settled immediately. No reporter or any media house was "sacked" on the first day - not even the gate crashers.
The GJA Eastern Region wishes to reiterate its commitment to protecting and promoting the safety and interest of all journalists and media practitioners in the region.
Chairman - GJA