Despite Ghana’s legal guarantees to freedom of expression and its enviable record of having a good press freedom environment, journalists continue to face challenges such as physical attacks and threats in the discharge of their duties.
Ensuring that perpetrators of violations against journalists are punished remains a challenge. The police are an important agency for the fight against impunity for crimes against journalists and ensuring their safety.
For the overall wellbeing of society, it is also crucial to build and nurture a mutually respecting and re-enforcing relationship between the media and the police. This can only be attained when the two parties have a deeper understanding of how they can co-operate and collaborate to support the fundamental human right of freedom of expression
In view of this, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and other media actors, in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service, in 2018 began a process to improve relations between the media and the police.
As a first step a forum was organised in July 2018 to discuss the safety of journalists and police-media relations in Ghana. The forum offered a space for dialogue between the media and the police to foster mutual understanding of their respective roles. It also built the capacity of police officers and journalists on safety of journalists’ standards and effective media handling by the police. Some guidelines for protection of the safety of journalists were also established.
To further strengthen and guide police-media relations for improved safety of journalists, it was agreed at the forum that a “Framework on Police-Media Relations and Safety of Journalists in Ghana” should be developed to spell out modalities for greater cooperation between the two bodies, end impunity for crimes against journalists and ultimately promote the safety of journalists.
To this end, a Committee, comprising individuals from the Ghana Police Service, Media Foundation for West Africa, National Media Commission, Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Ghana Community Radio Network, Editors Forum Ghana, Private Newspapers Publishers of Ghana, and Ghana Institute of Journalism, worked with a Consultant to develop this Framework on Police-Media Relations and Safety of Journalists in Ghana.
The Inspector-General of Police and members of the Police Management Board endorsed the Framework at its meeting on 22nd May, 2019. The Framework was subsequently launched by an official of the Ministry of Interior.
It is aimed that this Framework will ultimately enhance police-media relations, promote and protect the safety of journalists and reduce impunity for crimes against journalists in Ghana.