09 July 2016

BNI’s warning not seeking to gag media – GJA

mediaThe General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Dave Agbenu, has dismissed suggestions that the warning from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) may intimidate journalists in the conduct of their duties.

The BNI in a statement on the arrest of the two Montie FM panelists, issued a stern warning to media houses, to conduct discussions with decorum, tolerance and respect the constitutional rights of others or face the full rigors of the law.

But the GJA has backed the Bureau’s caution to journalists to be decorous or face the full rigors of the law.

Speaking to Citi News, Dave Agbenu argued that, the caution was necessary considering the gravity of the threats by the Montie FM panelists.

“If you flout the GJA code of ethics, you will attract sanctions from the GJA, but if you do flout the laws of the land, you are liable to face the consequences. This statement is coming on the back of what some media people have done, it is not in isolation.”

“Let us be careful not to say that because the media have the constitutional right to practice, they are not responsible to anybody.

There are still laws that govern our operation in the country and you must stay within that remit. I can agree with the positions others hold but that position will only be valid when that warning was coming out of the blues.

Let’s put it in context and understand it, so that we don’t mix up the issues. No one is expected under the constitution to interfere or gag media practice, but you also know that some of us are not living up to our responsibilities in a manner that it should be. If you take for instance, our brothers at Montie FM, you cannot but support the position of the BNI,” he explained.

We’ll deal with ‘reckless’ media houses

The BNI in the statement said, they will deal with media houses that use their platforms to make wild and unsubstantiated claims against people.

“We also advise media house owners, show hosts, panelists and other radio communicators to conduct all discussions with decorum, tolerance, and respect for the constitutional rights of others.

This will ensure peace before, during and after the upcoming elections. We will not hesitate to invoke the full sanctions of the law against any media house, which ignores this warning,” the statement added.

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