The Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) is considering a civil suit against Hajia Fati, a popular member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), for allegedly assaulting a female journalist with Adom FM of the Multi-Media Group.
This would be done in addition to the criminal action which has already started with a formal complaint lodged by the victim, Ohemaa Sakyiwaa with the police.
Mr Affail Monney, the President of the Association, disclosed this at a press conference held at the Ghana International Press Centre.
“The attack must not be countenanced, particularly when Ghana, had just hosted the World Press Freedom Day ever in Africa and had been ranked the leader of press freedom in the continent”, he emphasised.
Mr Monney recounted that at the time when the GJA was also awaiting report from the police for assaulting a journalist with Joy FM, Latif Iddrisu, while covering a demonstration by the National Democratic Congress, was not good enough.
He said Hajia Fati’s attack on Sakyiwaa, was not the first as she had been said to have threatened another journalist, one Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah of TV3 by issuing a death threat on phone to him early this year.
What is worrying is that one of her attacks on journalists was launched at the NPP’s headquarters, giving the impression that even if erroneously, that the ruling party endorses her violent conduct.
Mr Monney said, to avoid the negative impression, the party’s leadership should call her to order by condemning her attack on the Adom FM’s reporter.
He called on the Party to act swiftly and decisively to sanction her as well as disassociate itself from her impunity and penchant for attacks on journalists in order not to discredit her party and the government as a whole.
The President noted that GJA was deliberating on available options, including dialogue to end the impunity against media practitioners, which is considered as an attack on press freedom.
He used the opportunity to appeal to Parliament to expedite action on the passing of the Right to Information (RTI) bill which would ensure free access to information that would not fuel attacks such as this as the victim was seeking clarification from Hajia Fati when she was assaulted.
He called on journalists to always put their safety first before the news because, they can only tell their stories when alive and urged all to rally their support on the fight against journalists being attacked.
Ms Sakyiwaa, giving her accounts said: she was seeking clarification from Hajia Fati as to why Mr Sammy Crabbe was not allowed to pick a nomination form, when she was slapped and her phone smashed by Hajia Fati.
Mrs Mavis Kitcher, interim President of Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM), stated that the maltreatment and harassment of journalists, especially women, must not be taken lightly.
Also, in attendance were some members of the legal team of the Association, Lawyers Osei Kwadwo Addow and Tanko Zacharia, the Vice President of the Association, Mrs Linda Asante-Agyei as well as Mr Christian Amoadu Ohene, the editor of the reporter.