We won’t be intimidated, we’ll still cover Oti referendum – Volta GJA

General News of Thursday, 27 December 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

2018-12-27

Journalists covering the referendum within the Oti area have been cautioned to be extra vigilant

The Volta Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association says despite apparent threats on the lives of journalists covering the referendum in the Oti enclave, its members will not be discouraged from performing their watchdog role.

According to the Association, its role in such elections is enshrined in the Constitution, hence the threats will not stop them from covering the polls.

Journalists covering the referendum within the Oti area have been cautioned to be extra vigilant over fears of being attacked in the line of duty. They were also cautioned to station themselves at the collation centre at Jasikan instead of the polling stations

The Police gave the warning through the Volta Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Kafui Kanyi.

“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 centre at Jasikan.”

According to Kanyi the alert is unfortunate since it is tantamount to placing a curfew on their activities.

“We…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,” a statement signed by Volta Regional Chairman of the GJA, A. B. Kafui Kanyi.

The GJA further urged journalists covering the referendum in the Oti enclave to be wary of their safety but not allow themselves to be intimidated.

“It is our advice that tendencies that could set bad precedents 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,” the GJA added in the statement.

Meanwhile, citinewsroom.com has gathered that journalists within the Oti enclave are having troubles gathering information from the EC officials supervising the referendum.

Voting is underway in parts of the country for the creation of six regions namely: Bono East, Ahafo, North East, Savanna, Western North and Oti.

The voters are simply to vote yes or no in the referendum which has generated some controversy in parts of the country.

There were agitations by some people within the Oti enclave who say they are against the creation of the new region.

But voting is ongoing in eight districts and four traditional areas of the proposed Oti Region.

A total of 814 polling stations have been earmarked for the exercise.

Below is the full statement from the Volta Regional GJA:

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 centre 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 violenceunscathed.

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 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

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