By: Voltaonlinegh.com |
The Volta region chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has expressed resentment about attempts to blackout media coverage of the ongoing referendum in the proposed Oti region.
This follows a directive from the Regional Police Command to journalists covering the polls to restrict their movement in the area, as intelligence gathered revealed some persons in the Oti enclave were uncomfortable with unknown faces, including the journalists observing the process and could attack them.
Instead, the police command advised reporters to converge at a makeshift media centre set up at the Bueman Senior High School at Jasikan, where they will receive periodic briefing on the process.
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But a statement issued by the Regional chairman of GJA-Volta, Mr. Anthony Bells Kafui Kanyi, described the development as “unfortunate in view of Ghana being an icon of democratic growth and development, following the referendum that ushered in the Fourth Republic.”
It said, the country was noted to have undertaken a number of major national elections and safely survived predictions of threats and violence; and as such, the GJA sees “the alleged threats from the Joint Consultative Committee on Oti and the locals, detractive, an act of intimidation and a means to muscle out the media from playing its watchdog role mandated by the 1992 Constitution.”
According to the statement, such “tendencies that could set bad precedents be avoided as we approach the 2020 general elections-A group of people cannot place a “curfew” on media coverage of public elections or determine how the exercise is covered.”
The GJA however also advised reporters to be highly professional, conscious of their safety but not be intimidated.
Polling Officers Gagged
Meanwhile, reports reaching Voltaonlinegh.com from some parts of the Oti area revealed some polling officials at the voting centres have been gagged from speaking to the media on the progress of the exercise.
According to information gathered, polling officers in some centres at Kpassa and Likpe have declined to give accredited reporters information on the voting process due what they said was an ‘order from above.’
“The Presiding officers are not speaking to the media anymore. We went to three polling stations. Not a single soul in a queue. The Presiding officers said they received orders not to speak to the media,” some reporters on the ground told Voltaonlinegh.com
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