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GJA urges Public Relations Directorate of the GAF to be responsive

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The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Monday called on the Public Relations Directorate of the Ghana Armed Forces to be more responsive to the media to strengthen mutual trust.

It said developments in other stable countries had clearly shown that it was in the national interest to refrain from actions that tended to either polarise or politicise the armed forces.

The call was made in a statement signed by Mr Ransford Tetteh, President of GJA, in reaction to the arrest of the Editor of Daybreak Newspaper on a story about the military.

It said: “The GJA considers as hasty ad frightful to the media, the involvement of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) in the recent case of a report by Daybreak Newspaper, alleging there will soon be changes in the top hierarchy of the Ghana Armed Forces.”

“We found the hand-cuffing and virtual shoving off the Editor, Prince Prah into a vehicle by BNI operatives, driving him away for questioning and detaining him for nearly about seven hours to be high-handed. We believe inviting him for questioning could have been done in a more humane manner,” it added.

The statement said after meeting the Editor of the newspaper and examining the story in the March 15 edition of the “Daybreak” headlined “CDS OUT”, it made some observations.

“The GJA found the story to be in bad taste, because the paper failed in its report to prove that it conducted any cross-checks with the Military High Command or the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, the President, on the sensitive issues that it raised.”

“By so doing, it failed to ensure that the balance that the story required was struck because there was no comment from any of those that it concerned.”

“But above all, there were ethnic connotations that could fan ethnic sentiments. It based most of its analysis on conjecture and created the impression that people of the Western Region and Nzemas in particular were targets of the alleged change that was to take place in the military hierarchy,” it added.

The statement said the GJA was not against journalists taking positions on any issue including those involving the military.

“However, we are of the opinion, that in doing so and in engaging in such analysis, we must ensure that we separate comments from facts.”

The GJA was of the view that like any other national institution, the military should not be spared media scrutiny, however, this must be carried out without undermining their traditions, especially, discipline and chain of command.

It urged all media houses that stories about the armed forces and indeed all stories need to be thoroughly cross-checked.

Source: GNA

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