The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has condemned moves to prevent media personnel from covering the referendum in the proposed Oti region.
Local journalists said the police and locals asked them to vacate polling centers or risk being attacked.
In a statement, the Volta regional branch of the umbrella body for journalists said: “GJA-Volta, however, finds the development unfortunate in view of Ghana being an icon of democratic growth and development, following the referendum that ushered in the Fourth Republic.”
Below is the full statement:
OTI REFERENDUM AND MEDIA CURFEW
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)-Volta has taken notice of directives from the Regional Police Command restricting media coverage of the Oti referendum to the collation center at Jasikan.
The Police’s argument of picking intelligence that the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) on the creation of Oti Region and the locals were uncomfortable with unknown faces, including the media observing and covering the polls and could attack them, is welcome.
GJA-Volta, however, finds the development unfortunate in view of Ghana being an icon of democratic growth and development, following the referendum that ushered in the Fourth Republic.
The country is also noted to have undertaken a number of major national elections and survived predictions of threats and violence unscathed.
We, therefore see the alleged threats from the JCC and the locals, detractive, an act of intimidation and a means to muscle out the media from playing its watchdog role mandated by the 1992 Constitution.
It is our advice that tendencies that could set bad precedents to be avoided as we approach the 2020 general elections-A group of people cannot place a “curfew” on media coverage of public elections or determine how the exercise is covered.
By this statement, the Association urges media practitioners covering the Oti referendum to be highly professional, conscious of their safety but not be intimidated. God bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.
A.B Kafui Kanyi Regional Chairman