The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) is demanding a national dialogue on the designation of security zones in the country.

This call follows the police preventing the Minority in Parliament from holding a protest at the Bank of Ghana premises and their refusal for members of the Fix The Country movement to picket at the frontage of the Jubilee House.

According to the Police, these two areas were security zones.

However, President of the GBA, Yaw Acheampong Boafo, believes some agreement must be reached on designations and institutions that can be described as such.

“There is the need for a national dialogue for there to be an agreement as to which installations qualify to be designated as security zones, in respect of which there should be no demonstrations on such premises.

“Again, the theme for such demonstrations should also not be couched in insults. Julorbi, a Ga word, translates as ‘child of a thief’ and we think that such things are really not appropriate.

"Even though protest and demonstrations are integral part of activism in constitutional democracies, care must be taken so that such demonstrations are organized in an orderly and decent manner devoid of insults,” he added. 

The Ghana Bar Association President also condemned recent attacks on journalists by political party fanatics arguing that alleged unprofessionalism by the media is not license for party thugs to invade their premises and attack them.

“GBA is placing a call for more responsibility, decency and restrain on our airwaves. The media and programmes they churn out should be healthy ones that promote peaceful co-existence rather than platforms used as outlets for ventilation of visions and beating of war drums.

“There is an Akan adage that says ‘whiles you advise the cat, you also advise the mouse.’ In as much as we are asking our media outlets to be responsible, we are also calling on political parties and their activists to show restrain and tolerance.

"The idea that political party activists or anybody who does not like the programming content of a media house can go out there vandalizing and attacking anybody belongs to the stone-age,” he said.

On its part, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association said the GHS2,400 fine imposed on the NPP supporters who stormed and attacked UTV is not deterrent enough.

President of GIBA, Cecil Sunkwa Mills questioned the charges levelled against the now convicted persons.

"The court came out with the judgement based on the charges that were presented by the prosecution which was the Police and this was our major concern.

"We thought there was a lot of point because there was forceful entry, two people were assaulted, people were threatened but we did not see charges for these activities that went on. We did not see that on the charge sheet.”

Meanwhile the NDC and NPP have been taking swipes at each other over their respective records on the subject of press freedom.

According to Deputy NDC General Secretary, Mustapha Gbande, press freedom has deteriorated since President Akufo-Addo assumed office in 2017.

“It is more worrying that it started in 2017 till date where the government of the day has actually taken steps to undermine the independence of the media institutions in Ghana.

"In fact we have situations where media houses are not allowed to talk about issues if you are not on the side of government and you have your journalists attacked.

"I also believe that part of the blame must go to owners of private media. If you look at the case of UTV, such a big institution, you have people referred to as criminals being able to break into that building, go into the studio. For me, that means the place is not secured enough."

But the Communications Director of the Governing NPP, Richard Ahiagba disagrees.

He said, “on the matter of UTV, if you followed the event, that midnight hour, I was there immediately upon hearing the incident. We didn’t place a call, we went there in person. We spoke off camera with the host and guests. I had a meeting with them and then had the opportunity to apologise live on television to let Ghanaians know that truly, this is not something we are proud of.

“And so the approach that we took is reflective of who we are and what we believe about the media."

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

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