The Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has resolved to boycott all programmes organised by authorities of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the GJA in Kumasi Monday following alleged reports of verbal attacks by the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor William Otoo-Ellis, and the registrar, Mr Yebo Ocrah, on some journalists.
The journalists unanimously agreed that no media house should attend any programme organised by the KNUST authorities until further notice.
All media houses in the region, including representatives from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, the Ghanaian Times, TV3, the Daily Graphic, Metro TV, TV Africa, the Daily Guide, the Crusading Guide, The Chronicle and all the private radio stations in Kumasi, attended the meeting, which lasted for almost two hours.
Prof Otoo-Ellis and Mr Ocrah are alleged to have taken a swipe at some journalists a week ago for reporting incidents such as the recent armed robbery on the university campus.
The vice-chancellor is said to have described journalists as a bunch of illiterates who had been assembled at the various media houses to ruin the university with their negative reports.
According to the reports, immediately Prof Otoo-Ellis, who was in the company of his registrar, saw journalists from the Multi-Media Company, owners of Joy FM and Luv FM, and other journalists who were covering an event organised by Vodafone at the university, he allegedly rained insults on them.
He is also reported to have stated emphatically that considering the unprofessional reportage given by media houses in the Ashanti Region, the university stood to gain without their operations.
Mr Ocrah is also alleged to have stated that owners of media houses had assembled family members, friends and sympathisers who had no professional acumen to take control of their newsrooms, where they “display their ignorance and illiteracy on the news they report”.
During the GJA emergency meeting, it came out that both Prof Otoo-Ellis and Mr Ocrah had been very upset about the recent media reports on the armed robbery attack on a supermarket attendant, identified as Joyce Kwateng, 26.
Prior to that, a Level 200 female student, Patricia Enyonam, was alleged to have stabbed her roommate, identified as Akosua Ahiador, also a Level 200 Geography student.
At the meeting, the journalists reviewed the reports on the two recent incidents on the KNUST campus and concluded that both had been professionally, accurately, credibly and factually reported.
They, consequently, expressed concern over the pronouncements of Prof Otoo-Ellis and Mr Ocrah on journalists since they assumed office and described them as autocrats who wanted to extend their control over journalists.
The meeting also held that media houses were not the extension of the KNUST and so the university authorities could not prevent journalists from reporting on issues that are of public interest.
They further held that since the vice-chancellor and his registrar had, over the period, displayed arrogance to some journalists and publicly insulted them, it would be in the best interest of the media to boycott programmes organised by the university authorities until further notice.
It would be recalled that during the investiture of the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as Chancellor of the KNUST, the Registrar, Yebo Ocrah behaved in a similar manner and heckled GTV cameramen at the Great Hall during the ceremony in the full glare of the audience at the ceremony.
It took the intervention of the Akyempimhene, Oheneba Adusei Poku who witnessed the incident to restrain Mr Yebo Ocrah. The action resulted in the GJA boycotting activities of the university until the then Vice Chancellor, Prof Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa called for a meeting to resolve the matter.
Source: Daily Graphic
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