A media advocacy and safety organisation, Journalists Sanctuary International (JSI), has donated safety equipment to The Fourth Estate.
The safety vest and protective helmet are to help journalists at The Fourth Estate to cover demonstrations and other volatile situations.
Executive Director of JSI, Latif Iddrisu, who himself is a journalist, said there was a need to give full protection to journalists when they are covering potentially dangerous events like demonstrations.
“We don’t want journalists to go there ‘naked’. We want you to be well-suited, protected and clearly marked so that there will be no doubt in anybody’s mind to attempt to attack a journalist.
“This organisation has been set up because of what I have been through and I continue to recover from that experience. On that night, I wasn’t protected. I was ‘naked’. I didn’t have any bullet-proof vest with me or a helmet on my head to prevent the back of the gun that hit my head,” he told The Fourth Estate.
Mr Iddrisu suffered a fractured head injury in 2018 when some Police personnel assaulted him at the police headquarters in Accra. He was reporting the detention of the Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho, who was arrested for making inflammatory comments.
Mr Iddrisu had asked one of the police officers a question about some of the crowd control equipment to facilitate his report but that resulted in the assault.
The Police administration has said it was unable to identify the officers who assaulted the journalist because their CCTV cameras did not capture the assault.
Before traveling to the United States of America for a medical check-up in July this year, he told JoyNews that the condition had slowed his growth and development as a journalist over the last four years.
In order to prevent such injuries by journalists, he set up the JSI to champion the safety and protection of journalists covering volatile assignments.
The donation, which the JSI has made to other media houses in Ghana, comes two days after the United Nations observed the day set aside to draw attention to the impunity of crimes against journalists, which is on the rise around the world.
Workshop on the safety of journalists in the offing
Mr Iddrissu said his new organisation would go beyond just advocacy for media freedom to provide practical tips and tools to journalists.
He said this would create the needed sense of awareness journalists needed to continue to execute their tasks without the fear of being hurt.