Violence against journalists an offence against God – Justice Yonny Kulendi

He, therefore, underscored the need for a concerted effort to address, hopefully substantially mitigate, and eventually end such impunity.

His Lordship Justice Yonny Kuleni made the statement at the launch of the Journalists Support Fund in Accra at the Ghana International Press Centre.

The Journalists Support Fund was launched on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at a ceremony to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

The Fund which seeks to raise at least a GHC 2Million seed capital aims at curbing attacks on journalists and as well offer legal services to journalists who are assaulted in their line of duty amongst others.

Read Also: GJA launches Journalists Support Fund

Speaking at the event, Justice Yonny Kuleni observed that the resulting crimes against journalists who simply strive to serve and promote the common good through with their pens, microphones, airwaves, critical questions, etc, has been on the rise across the world and regrettably tend to be more preponderant in our part of the world.

“Understandably, the men and women of power, their agents and collaborators tend to deploy some of the very people that any professional journalist is sworn to serve, and to weaponise and exploit them to perpetuate aggression, violence, abuse, harassment and attacks against journalists and media practitioners. The resulting crimes against these men and women who simply strive to serve and promote the common good through their pens, microphones, airwaves, critical questions, etc, have been on the rise across the world and regrettably tend to be more preponderant in our part of the world. Needless to say, crimes, aggression, and violence with impunity against journalists and media practitioners is an offence against the society, the state, humanity and every democracy and freedom loving individual on the planet. I dare to say it’s an offence against God,” he said.

His Lordship Justice Yonny Kuleni added that, “This is why there is the need for a concerted effort, such as this, among others, to address and hopefully substantially mitigate and eventually end such impunity.”

He commended the President and National Executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and their sponsors for the initiative to establish the ‘Journalists Support Fund’ with the aim of lending support to journalists and media practitioners who become victims and regrettably some have paid the highest price in the line of duty.

He said the idea of using the fund to pursue legal actions for journalists who may fall victim to such unjustifiable violence was very laudable and implored the public to support it.

“In furtherance of this effort, I am inclined to postulate a thesis for our consideration. I hold the humble view that the impunity that is engulfing us is a reflection of an insidious degeneration in values, ethics, discipline and increasing contempt for institutions, authority, due process and the Rule of Law. This cultural deterioration, is a big part of the structural causes of violence and impunity against the media and practitioners,” he said.

His Lordship Justice Yonny Kuleni continued that,”If we commit to a stand against corruption, promote respect for our institutions, promote respect for law and order (the police and related security agencies), uphold and defend ethics in every area of our endeavour, promote respect for the Courts and their service however imperfect, a resolute zero tolerance for violence as a way to resolve disagreements, a zero tolerance for corruption, we will be strengthening the foundation and structure for ensuring that all men and women in service, including our hard working and dedicated journalists and media practitioners can serve our country and humanity with their skills, hearts and conscience without living in fear of physical violence, verbal violence/condemnation, fear for personal safety, blackmail and the safety of their families, friends and associates.”

He again called on the President and leadership of the GJA to consider initiatives such as those above to promote a healthy dialogue on these structural matters.

“That said, may I implore the citizenry, corporate Ghana and our development partners to support this appeal for funds by the GJA in order to make the ‘Journalists Support Fund’ a reality and to achieve the purpose for which it is established,” he added.