Mr David Agbenu, Ghana Journalist Association (JGA)’s Presidential Aspirant, says enhancing the safety of journalists will be one of the cardinal mandates of his administration should he win the GJA election.
He said journalists played a crucial role in societies, yet media freedom and the safety of journalists were under threat around the globe.
“As men and women always on the frontline seeking the welfare of others even at the peril of their lives, it is time for them to be adequately compensated.
“We must prioritize the safety and welfare of journalists to ensure that they work in a conducive environment. The status of journalists must be uplifted to a higher level; journalists deserve better.”
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tema, Mr Agbenu, currently the Editor of the Ghanaian Times, noted that journalists and the public were getting tired of security institutions that kept apologizing on behalf of some recalcitrant officers who brutalize journalists or members of the public.
“We need action to be taken against such officers whose unprofessional conduct affects the public and tarnishes the image of the security agencies,” he said.
He expressed concern about the recurrent attacks on journalists and other members of the public by operatives who were paid by the taxpayer to protect the citizens.
The GJA Presidential hopeful, therefore, urged the Ghanaian authorities to take all necessary measures to increase the protection of media practitioners and ensure the security of journalists.
He also appealed to media institutions to make the safety of journalists a priority and called on the management of media houses to buy insurance packages for their workers, especially journalists against road accidents and any other occupational mishaps.
The work of journalists was risky and therefore insurance cover must be provided for them to fall on in case of any unforeseen eventuality, he added.
Mr Agbenu also appealed to media institutions to make the safety of their journalists a priority by emulating the Ghanaian Times which pays premium into group insurance to protect and make their reporters safe whenever they were on the field covering assignments.
“There should be something that a reporter can fall on when something happens, but we know that most of the houses don’t have so when something happens they have to cater for themselves,” he said.
He noted that apart from road crashes, some journalists were beaten by security personnel, politicians and other persons in society just for doing their work, some were even killed, and so the media houses must consider it crucial to provide their reporters with the necessary safety.