Home » MFWA Supports GJA’s Blackout on Minister Koomson After Journalist Attack

MFWA Supports GJA’s Blackout on Minister Koomson After Journalist Attack

Press Safety Front and Center in MFWA's Endorsement of GJA's Stance

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has endorsed the Ghana Journalists Association’s (GJA) decision to implement a total media blackout on Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson. This decision followed an incident where a journalist was allegedly attacked by individuals linked to the Minister during the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) parliamentary aspirants’ vetting in Cape Coast.

The GJA’s directive to journalists to cease covering any activities associated with the Awutu Senya East MP is a significant stance against violence and intimidation towards media professionals. The MFWA’s support for this move was articulated in a statement issued on January 28, 2024, where they condemned the attack and called for strong measures to protect journalists and ensure their safety.

The MFWA’s statement further commended the GJA for its decisive action and urged all media houses and journalists in Ghana to comply with the GJA’s directive. They also extended the media blackout to include all activities of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development as long as Koomson remains in charge.

In a development to this situation, MFWA urged the leadership of the NPP to seek accountability from Minister Koomson and to compel her to identify the individuals responsible for the journalist’s assault for appropriate disciplinary actions. This request stems from the fact that the assailants allegedly acted in retaliation to perceived insults against the Minister, who has since denied sanctioning the assault. Thus, MFWA argues that it is incumbent upon Koomson to assist the police in identifying the assailants whose actions have potentially tarnished her reputation.

Meanwhile, Minister Koomson has threatened legal action against the GJA President for his role in implicating her in the attack on the journalist. She claims that the GJA’s decision to impose a media blackout on her is unjust and is based on an uninvestigated assault allegation. Koomson, who was focused on her parliamentary primaries at the time of the GJA’s declaration, is now demanding either a retraction of the statement or evidence supporting the assault allegation. She expressed surprise at hearing about the assault through media channels and stated that no one approached her about the issue during her time in Cape Coast for vetting.

This controversy has sparked significant discussion and debate within the media landscape in Ghana, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by journalists in the country. The MFWA and GJA’s actions represent a firm stand against violence and intimidation in the media sector, underscoring the importance of safeguarding press freedom and the protection of journalists.

The situation also brings into focus the complex relationship between political figures and the media in Ghana. As the debate continues, the outcome of this standoff will be closely monitored by media professionals, political entities, and civil society organizations, all of whom have a vested interest in the integrity and freedom of the press in Ghana.

In conclusion, the incident and the ensuing reactions from the GJA, MFWA, and Minister Koomson raise critical questions about the safety of journalists, the accountability of public officials, and the role of media in democratic societies. The unfolding events will likely have lasting implications for press freedom in Ghana and could potentially set a precedent for how similar cases are handled in the future.

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