Stakeholders in the media and the Ghana Police Service have made a commitment to sustain dialogue and cooperation in order to promote the safety of journalists’ situation in the country and as well improve relations between the media and police.
The commitment was made at a forum on police-media relations organised in Accra on July 11, 2018 by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and the Ghana Police Service.
The forum which was held at the Ghana Police Headquarters in Accra was opened by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) David Asante-Apeatu, and attended by top Commissioners and Directors General of the departments of Police administration, unit and divisional commanders.
The media was represented by participants from a host of media houses, the National Media Commission (NMC), Editors Forum, Ghana (EFG), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN). Also present was a senior official from UNESCO.
In his keynote address, the IGP, David Asante-Apeatu, emphasised the commitment of the police service to building and maintain a cordial and mutually courteous relationship with the media to enable the two institutions work together to deliver on their respective constitutional mandates to promote peace, democracy, development and law and order in the country.
He added that the service would continue to train its officers to respect media practitioners and all civilians and to be responsive to the needs and expectations of the public.
“We recognise the need to continue to create awareness among police officers and the public about human rights, respect for the rule of law and the fact that we all need to be accountable and responsive to the law and the needs of people,” the IGP David Asante-Apeatu said.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, observed that the media fraternity has legitimate concerns over police brutality against journalists as well as the police service’s seeming lack of commitment to investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of violations against journalists.
He added, however, that the way to get these grievances addressed is to engage the top hierarchy of the police administration in a frank and open dialogue, hence the holding of the forum.
The media personnel shared experiences on previous unpleasant encounters with the police who, on their part, pointed out certain postures and attitudes of some journalists which often lead to clashes.
The police made a presentation on their chain of command as far as relations with the media is concerned and advised journalists seeking information from the service to observe the established protocols.
The police also used the opportunity to demonstrate to participants a simulation exercise on crowd control and media security precautions during coverage of such violent-prone events.
The media stakeholders and the police agreed to meet at a later date to fashion out a framework to guide police-media relations to ensure sustained goodwill and healthy relationship between the two sides.