The Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation (CCF), Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng has spurred up journalists to highlight the plight and struggles of the poor and vulnerable in society through their reportage.
Mr. Kwarteng was speaking at a workshop for fifteen journalists organized by CCF as part of the implementation of the OSIWA funded ‘Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy project’ that seeks to create an enabling environment for vagrants to know, claim and exercise their rights and responsibilities in Ghana.
He said most of these reportage portray the activities of vagrants as illegal and therefore their concerns are not considered, giving room for them to be brutalized. “Media reportage presents vagrants as criminals and therefore put them in the negative light whiles authorities that shirk their responsibilities are usually shielded.” He said.
Mr. Kwarteng’s comments were reiterated by a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism and journalist with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Abdul Hayi Moomen who chided some media reportage that depict the activities of vagrants as illegal without highlighting the neglect these vagrants are subjected to.
Mr. Moomen entreated journalists to focus on stories that rather promote the rights of these vagrants so that they are not taken undue advantage of because of their status.
The ace broadcaster also urged the media to be professional in executing their jobs.
“Media reportage has made the victims (vagrants), the perpetrators of abuse and the abusers (authorities), the victims. We must not sensationalize our reportage especially when it is about stories on the activities of the poor. Let’s help protect the rights of vagrants and hold authorities accountable for shirking their responsibilities.” He said.
The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), established in 2000, is a grant-making and advocacy organization focused on equality, justice, democratic governance, human rights, and knowledge generation. It is part of the global network of Open Society Foundations spread across 37 countries around the world. He said the Assemblies outrageously fine these vagrants for committing petty offences.
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By: Rudolph Nandi