Parliament on Tuesday called on the media to be circumspect in its reportage of the increasing cases of kidnapping in Ghana, particularly its publication of the identity and nationality of suspects arrested for alleged kidnapping.
Parliament’s plea which was made through its Foreign Affairs Committee followed a similar one to the Ghanaian media by Nigeria’s High Commission in Ghana.
The High Commission described as unfair for all Nigerians in Ghana to be branded criminals because some have been involved in the spate of crimes in the country.
“Suffice to say that at times like this, a situation where five (5) Ghanaians in company of three (3) Nigerians allegedly kidnapped two (2) Canadians but seems to enjoy wider press coverage as a crime committed by the Nigerians and considers Ghanaians only as accomplices leave much to be desired on the objectivity of such report,” said a statement signed by Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana Ambassador Olufemi Michael Abikoye.
“In light of the above, the High Commission wishes to appeal to the local traditional media and social media to be highly circumspect in such reportage. In effect, the ongoing media trial of the criminals which was now being turned media trial of Nigeria as a country, calls for moderation on the part of media practitioners in Ghana. Moreover, such media trials could be seen as prejudicial to the outcome of the ongoing prosecution in court which sees them as innocent until proven guilty,” the statement added.
Addressing a press conference on the development on Tuesday in Accra, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Frank Annoh-Dompreh shared the sentiments of the Nigerian High Commission, asking greater circumspection in view of the happenings in the 70s where foreigners were deported from Ghana following the passage of the Alien Act.
“Particularly, we are guided by what has happened in the past, in the 60s what happened, in the 70s what happened and in the 80s what happened.
“So, we are treading cautiously. Unfortunately, recent pronouncements in the media are not the best and we as a committee that has oversight when it comes to our overarching concerns over foreign relations…we want to appeal particularly to the good people of this country—the youth and the media, we should all be measured in terms of our pronouncements and any arrest which has been effected by the police, we will urge the police and knowing the Ghanaian police they are going to do their work dispassionately.
“So, let’s respect the police, let’s not be quick in prejudging the case that is being reported in the media,” he stated.